GOPer Accused Of Pushing Seth Rich Conspiracy At Fox: Lawsuit Is 'Nonsense'

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

Summary: A former Fox News commentator said the network concocted fake news to help President Donald Trump. Wigdor did not immediately return a request for comment.

Washington D.C. police say Rich was killed during a botched robbery.

The private investigator, Rod Wheeler, alleges in his suit, filed Tuesday, that Fox News and and Trump supporter Ed Butowsky, with the blessing of the White House, pressed ahead with the unfounded rumors about Rich's death in order to shift public attention away from an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into the Trump administration's ties to the Russian government.

It's those ties to Fox, as well as to the Trump White House, that helped thrust Butowsky to the center of a weird and explosive story involving a slain Democratic National Committee staffer and the Trump administration.

He claims some quotes attributed to him in Fox News' story about Rich were fake.

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The suit, filed at the U.S. federal court house in Manhattan on Tuesday, is brought by Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and retired police detective, against the television network, one of its journalists and another of its contributors.

Wheeler said that he was falsely quoted in the article published May 16 as stating that his investigation found "some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks" and that his investigation showed "someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward".

Responding to the suit, Rich family spokesman Brad Bauman tells PEOPLE, "I am just so hopeful that this really once and for all gives them the space that they need in order to grieve and gives the police the space that they need in order to actually find the killers". It names as defendants Butowsky, Fox and reporter Malia Zimmerman. "Mr. Wheeler was subsequently forced to correct the false record and, as a result, lost all credibility in the eyes of the public".

Wheeler also alleges that a Fox News reporter made up quotes attributed to him as part of its reporting on the Rich case. He then went on to besmirch the characters of Fox News host Sean Hannity, form Fox News executive Bill Shine before adding "the whole thing is awful, I think, and I think that the Rich family has really suffered a lot as a result of the lack of values both at Fox News and the White House". It's now all up to you. "It's now all up to you. but don't feel the pressure".

Fox News says claims laid out in a lawsuit alleging that it published a story about a murdered DNC staffer in an attempt to detract from the Russian investigation are "completely erroneous".

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White House spokeperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, while addressing a press briefing on Tuesday, said, "The President had no knowledge of the story and it's completely untrue that he and the White House were involved".

Butowsky told CNN that the allegations are "bulls**t".

Wheeler cites a text message and voicemail from Butowsky as evidence that Trump had reviewed the article before its publication and supported it.

CNNMoney reached out to Butowsky about the interview, but he said that he hadn't seen it.

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