nsucurrent.com March 20, 2018

Fox News contributor claims network fabricated quotes, worked with WH on story

03 August 2017, 12:46 | Colleen Roy

Trump told Fox News to run Seth Rich conspiracy story, lawsuit alleges

Seth Rich Trump Personally Told Fox News To Publish Fake Story About Murdered DNC Employee Suit Claims

The lawsuit, which was brought by Rod Wheeler, a private investigator who was quoted in the retracted Fox story represents the first tangible link between the fringe conspiracy theory surrounding Rich's death and the White House.

It claims Trump gave the go-ahead for two made-up quotes in a Fox News story in which Rich was accused of being the source of the DNC email leaks to WikiLeaks.

Fox News told NPR the lawsuit did not contain any "concrete evidence" it had concocted the article.

Wheeler alleges that just before he sent that text, Butowsky left him a voicemail and said, "A couple minutes ago I got a note that we have the full, uh, attention of the White House, on this". The story was published under pressure from President Donald Trump, Wheeler claims. Wheeler's suit claims "Fox News defamed him by manufacturing two false quotations and attributing them to him and ruining his reputation by blaming him as the deceptive story fell apart", NPR writes. The longtime Fox News contributor and former police detective says he was intially hired by Mr Butowsky to investigate Mr Rich's death, on behalf of the 27-year-old's grieving parents.

When asked about the suit Tuesday White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "The president didn't have knowledge of the story".

Other photos on Wheeler's Facebook page, like the following photo, show Rod standing inside the White House press room. "Zimmerman, Butowsky and Fox had created fake news to advance President Trump's agenda".

If there is evidence that they did collude with Trump to distract from the Russian Federation investigation, it will damage the network beyond fix with non-Trump fan former casual viewer that made Fox number one in the cable news ratings for more than a decade. He added "it's now all up to you, but don't feel the pressure". Instead, he said, "it was their aim to have Mr. Wheeler confirm that: (i) Seth Rich was responsible for the leak of DNC emails to WikiLeaks; and (ii) Seth Rich was murdered by a Democrat operative because he leaked the emails to WikiLeaks".

Despite the fact that Fox News retracted its story reporting that Rich was in contact with Wikileaks, Butwosky told CNN, "I don't believe there's anything in that story that isn't accurate". Butowsky said this was "tongue-in-cheek".

The lawsuit also alleges that Butowsky sent emails to Fox News producers with guidance on the story, saying that "One of the big conclusions we need to draw from this is that the Russians did not hack our computer systems and steal emails and there was no collusion like Trump with the Russians".

But the Rich family was, according to a spokesman representing them, taken aback when they learned that Butowsky has ties to Steve Bannon, the White House strategist and former chairman of Breitbart News.

Another said: "Just reflecting: we need to emphasize the Federal Bureau of Investigation has a report that has been suppressed that shows that Seth Rich did this".

In response to the explosive claim, Spicer told NPR that he is unaware of any such contact with the president.

To bolster that claim, the lawsuit alleges that the article included "fabricated" quotes from Wheeler that he never said.

Butowsky did not immediately comment to CNBC for this article.

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