Lawsuit accuses White House of working with Fox News on false story

Rod Wheeler

The lawyer spearheading the lawsuit against Fox News for allegedly fabricating quotes in a report about slain Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich, said Tuesday he would seek to have President Trump and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer testify under oath about their roles in the affair.

Cuomo, confused, tried to get to the bottom of Butowsky's claims, particularly questioning if President Donald Trump reading a draft of the FoxNews.com article in question was a joke. He wants the article out immediately. "But don't feel the pressure".

Rich, a Democratic National Campaign staffer, was killed previous year in Washington D.C.in what authorities believe was a botched robbery. The crime remains unsolved.

A lawsuit filed by an investigator who worked on the Seth Rich case claims Fox News fabricated quotes and coordinated with the Trump administration on its later-redacted story.

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".

Fox published a story in May quoting Wheeler, a private investigator, suggesting a connection between Rich and WikiLeaks and its leaks of DNC emails during the campaign. "Fox's marginalization of Mr. Wheeler is simply part of its systemic pattern and practice of discriminating against people of color", the suit says.

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Their identity is not clarified yet but initial reports indicate that they belong to the terror group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The slain militants have been identified as Irfan Ahmad Sheikh and Abid Magray, both locals belonging to Hizbul outfit.

The suit also alleges that Butowsky kept Sean Spicer, then White House spokesman, and senior Trump aide Steve Bannon, informed about his efforts.

In a statement Tuesday, Spicer said, "Ed is a longtime supporter of the president's agenda who often appears in the media". However, Zimmerman's article was published, which said that Wheeler believes there was evidence that connects Rich to Wikileaks before he was murdered, prompting a quick rebuke from Rich's family.

The lawsuit comes as Fox News and 21st Century Fox have tried to move past a sexual harassment scandal that burst into public view previous year and led to the ouster of Roger Ailes, the network's founding chairman; Bill O'Reilly, the prominent anchor; and several other employees.

Fox says it's "completely erroneous" to suggest it pushed the story to distract from the Russian Federation investigation. "The White House didn't have any involvement in the story". He asked for a 10 minute meeting, with no specified topic, to catch up and said he would be bringing along a contributor to Fox News.

"While we can't speak to the evidence that you now have, we are hopeful that (the lawsuit) brings an end to what has been the most emotionally hard time in our lives and an end to conspiracy theories surrounding our beloved Seth", the family says in a statement. Butowsky said this was "tongue-in-cheek". "I [was] being told, 'you will ask this, you will cover this.' For instance, after the gas attack in Syria - that disgusting sarin gas attack - I was asked to put questions to the White House that framed the issue in such a way that made it seem like the attack didn't happen - that it was staged".

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