Fox News worked with a wealthy Republican donor to concoct and promote a conspiracy theory about the death of a Democratic National Committee aide in order to deflect attention away from President Trump’s Russia woes, a lawsuit by a longtime Fox contributor alleges.
The tangled web involves Rod Wheeler, a former cop and Fox talking head who filed the suit on Tuesday; Ed Butowsky, a Dallas businessman and Trump donor who has also appeared on Fox News; and Malia Zimmerman, a Fox News enterprise reporter.
Wheeler says that Butowsky approached him with a proposal to investigate the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered last summer in what police believe was likely a mugging gone wrong. Since his death, conspiracy theories have swirled ran amok, many of them proposing that his death was part of a supposed cover-up by the DNC in retaliation for Rich’s alleged contact with Wikileaks.
Wheeler now claims that Zimmerman created quotations and falsely attributed them to him in order to further the story. He also alleges that Butowsky explicitly told him that one of the main takeaways from the Seth Rich story would have to be the that the investigation into the Trump administration’s Russia ties was baseless.
“One of the big conclusions we need to draw from this is that the Russians did not hack our computer systems and ste[a]l emails and there was no collusion” between “Trump and the Russians,” one email from Butowsky to Wheeler reads.
The full story is available from NPR here.