The Daily Beast reports private investigator Rob Wheeler is suing Fox News Channel after the network claimed he was the source of a conspiracy theory that Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee employee who was murdered in 2016, may have been killed in retaliation for leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Butowsky wires Wheeler $5,000 as payment for the investigation using a bank account under the name "GOOGIE, LP". So there was a meeting in the West Wing at the White House, this was in April.
We've got more newsletters we think you'll find interesting. He also claimed that Trump supporter Ed Butowsky worked with Fox News on the story in order to distract attention from the Russian Federation investigation, writing in the lawsuit "Zimmerman, Butowsky and Fox had created fake news to advance President Trump's agenda".
But because of his DNC ties, and thanks to baseless, "just asking questions" assertions on Fox News, a conspiracy theory took root that Rich was actually murdered by the Clinton campaign because he was the mole who'd sent internal information to WikiLeaks-a theory that would thus magically absolve Russian Federation (and therefore Trump) of any meddling in the election.
The report quotes Wheeler as saying his investigation found some degree of exchange between Rich and WikiLeaks, and that his investigation showed someone was blocking the murder investigation, and it could be someone from D.C. government, the DNC or the Clinton campaign. "Rather, in the weeks and months leading up to the publication of Zimmerman's May 16, 2017 article, Butowsky kept in regular contact with Trump administration officials - including Mr. Spicer, Mr. Bannon and Director of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice, Sarah Flores - regarding his efforts relating to Seth Rich".
"Beyond that, this is ongoing litigation and I'd refer you to the actual parties involved, which are not the White House".
Fox News didn't immediately respond to further requests for comment. Fox News, for its part, denies any such discrimination, and adds that there is "no evidence" that Wheeler was misquoted or had false quotations attributed to him.
"Zimmerman, Butowsky and Fox had created fake news to advance President Trump's agenda", alleges the suit, filed against 21st Century Fox, Fox News, Butowsky and Zimmerman.
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Wheeler's claim, again, is that the Seth Rich story was promoted as a diversion from the Trump-Russia story.
The lawsuit cited a May 14 text message from Butowsky to Wheeler that said, "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article".
Wheeler appears on Hannity and touts the conspiracy theory, claiming that while he has never "seen the emails directly", he claimed to know a "very credible" federal investigator who "laid eyes on [Rich's] computer". And yet somehow Zimmerman is still working on stories for Fox News...
Zimmerman says that her superiors at Fox News told her to keep the quotes. "But don't feel the pressure", Butowsky wrote in a text message to Wheeler, according to the filing. Wheeler indicates that he's surprised Zimmermanis at the meeting.
Rich's family has repeatedly pushed back against such theories, and Fox has come under criticism for pushing the Rich story. And Hersh says he believes that Butowsky took a rumor he'd heard and chose to blow it way out of proportion.
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