Fox News is Being Sued for Publishing Fake Pro-Trump News

Laura Christensen
August 3, 2017

Rod Wheeler, the detective cited in Fox News' controversial story about the fatal shooting of DNC staffer Seth Rich, has filed suit against the company for allegedly fabricating his quotes and pressuring him to push a false narrative.

A 33-page page federal court filing by network contributor Rod Wheeler charges two bogus quotes were attributed to him in a concocted story meant to provide cover for the Trump administration in the ongoing Russian investigation.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in NY federal court against Fox News, reporter Malia Zimmerman and commentator Ed Butowsky.

On May 14, about 36 hours before Fox News' story appears, Butowsky leaves a voicemail for Wheeler, saying, "We have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this".

In May, while accusations that Russian Federation interfered in the presidential election were hurting Trump, Zimmerman was part of the Fox News story about Rich and DNC emails. The suit alleges Zimmerman and Butowsky met with Spicer in his White House office in April to discuss the story.

At Tuesday's White House briefing, incoming press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president "had no knowledge of the story" despite Butowsky's claim in emails to Wheeler that he had kept Trump in the loop. Wheeler's lawsuit, however, states that Bukowski, the third party, sent Wheeler five text messages and one voice mail in the three day period ending on the Hannity interview. For his part, Butowsky told NPR that his statement about Trump approving of the story was a joke. He said he believes it was retracted because Wheeler complained that he was misquoted.

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The report - which aired May 16 and was retracted a week later - blamed the DNC email leaks during the 2016 presidential election on staffer Seth Rich, who was shot to death in July of that year. He added "it's now all up to you, but don't feel the pressure".

"Ed Butowsky had an opportunity to look the American people in the eye and the Seth Rich family in the eye and say, you know what, six months after I reached out to you, knowing what I know now, I can not believe I put you in this position, and I am so, so sorry." said Bauman. Not to mention a national news network willing to let the president read a story before it was published.

Wheeler said he provided some quotes to Fox based on what Butowsky and Zimmerman had told him.

A spokesman for the family of Seth Rich - a murder victim whose death has become the center of a conspiracy theory - said "all [the family] really wants at this point is for this to go away". "Incredibly, according to Butowsky, the president reviewed an article written by a Fox News journalist prior to its publication and sought to get the article published 'immediately'".

In response to the explosive claim, Spicer told NPR that he is unaware of any such contact with the president. After Butowsky said he heard something from someone, Cuomo pressed him on what it was.

This went on for seemingly forever, with Cuomo attempting to get a straight answer out of Butowsky - to no avail - before moving on to the meeting with then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer described in the suit. "We were basically telling him you are doing a great job and that the president or the White House or somebody would be interested in meeting you". Butowsky claimed Wheeler had a crush on an anchor and leaked the details to her before the story was published, leading to the inaccurate quotes circulating in the media.

Other reports by My Hot News

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