DNC Staffer's Family Sues Fox News Over Retracted Article About His Killing

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The family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich has filed a lawsuit against Fox News over a story that suggested their son was murdered for supplying documents to WikiLeaks.

Wikileaks itself fuelled the conspiracy theory by offering a reward for the capture of Mr Rich's killer and hinting that he may have been the source of the emails.

In May, a D.C. Fox station published a report that claimed the staffer's computer showed he had been in touch with WikiLeaks before he died and had leaked thousands of emails to the site.

Because of the false reporting, the lawsuit claims the Richs have symptoms of PTSD and obsessive compulsive behavior, noting "they feel compelled to review the news stories, tweets, and internet material falsely stating that Seth was WikiLeak's source for the DNC emails." iMediaEthics has written to the Rich family's lawyer for further comment.

Fox News only retracted the story a week after it was published. "The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension", Rich's parents Joel and Mary Rich told ABC News in a joint statement.

"No parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure", Joel and Mary Rich said in statement, according to CNN. Wheeler alleged in his lawsuit that the comments were false and were put in the story at the behest of President Donald Trump to discredit investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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The lawsuit claims that Malia Zimmerman, the Fox News reporter, and Ed Butowsky, a businessman, schemed together to invent a "sham" smear campaign about their son Seth Rich's death.

According to the Riches' complaint, Butowsky, an occasional Fox guest and longtime Republican surrogate based in Texas, allegedly conspired with Zimmerman to promote the claims about Rich and Wikileaks.

Butowsky said that Joel Rich had been "very happy with the article" when it was initially published. The suit contends that the reporters and the network "aided and abetted the intentional infliction of emotional distress" by the continued promotion of the story.

Filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY, the suit also names Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and Texas businessman Ed Butowsky, who are accused of playing a critical role in the spread of the conspiracy theory.

Butowsky told ABC News in an interview that the lawsuit is "one of the dumbest" he'd ever seen.

"Not only does my heart go out to them, but my wallet went out to them", he said, appearing to refer at least to his offer to pay Wheeler to investigate Rich's death.