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

NPR reports the lawsuit was brought by Rod Wheeler, a former Washington DC detective and longtime paid Fox commentator, who was hired by Republican donor Ed Butowsky to investigate Rich's murder.

Fox says it is investigating the story.

The motivation for doing so, the complaint says, was to "shift the blame from Russian Federation and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russian Federation in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Presidential election".

Wheeler said he and Butowsky, both Fox contributors, met in the White House with former press secretary Sean Spicer to discuss the story on one occasion, and he was later told by Butowsky just before the story appeared in May that Trump himself previewed it and pushed Fox to publish it.

After the article with the fabricated quotes was published, according to the lawsuit, Wheeler met with executives at Fox News and "explained to Ms. Brandi and Mr. Wallace that he had not provided Zimmerman with the quotations she used in her article". I got a note that we have the full attention of the white house on this. Now, he's claiming in a lawsuit that the story was concocted by Fox News with direction from people in the White House, up to and including Donald Trump.

Now, in the lawsuit filed Tuesday, which Mic obtained and reviewed, Wheeler claims his quotes were fabricated by Zimmerman and Butowsky to advance a pro-Trump political agenda, and that his reputation has been ruined as a result.

Starting off with a bang, the complaint actually begins with a May 14 text from Butowsky to Wheeler that alleges the deep connection between Trump and FNC.

Butowsky, the Dallas investor and Trump supporter now insists to NPR that he was just joking about the President pushing the story.

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A private investigator who was put at the center of a controversial report on the death of a murdered Democratic National Committee operative is alleging he was placed there against his will by employees of Fox News Channel.

The 27-year-old Rich was shot in Washington in July 2016 in what police believe to have been a failed robbery. He added "it's now all up to you, but don't feel the pressure".

"I've never talked to President Trump in my life", Butowsky said, denying that the White House had "anything to do with any of this".

"T$3 o this day Fox has not issued any statement admitted that the quotes attributed to Mr. Wheeler were not made by him, nor has Fox apologized to Mr. Wheeler", the lawsuit says.

CUOMO: But what does that have to do with saying that the White House is interested?

"It doesn't bother me that the press secretary would take a meeting with someone involved in the media about a story", Sanders said. Butowsky told CNN that he told Spicer about claims he says reporter Seymour Hersh made about the Federal Bureau of Investigation having a copy of Rich's hard drive. Not to mention a national news network willing to let the president read a story before it was published. "He wants the article out immediately".

In response to the explosive claim, Spicer told NPR that he is unaware of any such contact with the president. Fox News poster boy Sean Hannity, an early champion of the story, said he would stop talking about it out of respect for Rich's family.

  • Adam Floyd