Seth Rich murder lawsuits filed by parents and Rod Wheeler dismissed, Claimed Fox News caused them emotional distress and engaged in “extreme and outrageous conduct”
“Let me tell you something. They were all over that woman,”
“And it was the type of stuff we ran into with the outfit (the Chicago mob). Intimidation just by watching her, making their presence known. … Just to let her know ‘We can do what we want.’ ”…Attorney David Schippers, Clinton investigator
“I know that Seth Rich was involved in the DNC leak.”…Kim Dotcom
“Burkman said in an interview that he considered Selig like a brother and was badly shaken by his friend’s death.”
“The tragically ironic part is Glenn’s last words to me were, ‘Be careful,’” Burkman said. “It’s just a tragedy — terrible.””…Politico Jan. 24, 2018
From the NY Times.
“A federal judge in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit Thursday that was brought against Fox News by the parents of Seth Rich, the young Democratic aide whose unsolved murder was turned into fodder for a lingering right-wing conspiracy theory.
In his dismissal of the lawsuit, Judge George B. Daniels said he sympathized with Mr. Rich’s parents, but added that they had not been personally defamed by the story — despite the fact that it included “false statements or misrepresentations.”
Mr. Rich’s parents, Joel and Mary, filed the suit in Federal District Court in Manhattan in March, arguing that Fox News had caused them emotional distress and engaged in “extreme and outrageous conduct” by publishing a fabricated article claiming that their son had leaked thousands of internal emails from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks. Those emails were then released to the public in an act that proved damaging to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The story, published on the Fox News website on May 16, 2017, implied that Mr. Rich’s death on the streets on Washington in July 2016 had occurred in retaliation for the leaks, even though no evidence supported that conclusion. Mr. Rich’s parents held that Mr. Rich — then 27 — had been killed during an attempted robbery.
Within a week, Fox News retracted the story, saying that it had not met its standards, but the conspiracy theory has persisted, fueled by prominent conservatives like Newt Gingrich, the Fox News pundit Sean Hannity and the right-wing broadcasters Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones of Infowars. The rumors about Mr. Rich’s death were embraced by some supporters of President Trump, who used them to undercut the notion that Russian operatives had been responsible for the leak.
“It is understandable that plaintiffs might feel that their grief and personal loss were taken advantage of, and that the tragic death of their son was exploited for political purposes,” Judge Daniels wrote. But he added that he had no choice but to dismiss the suit, because Fox’s conduct did not amount to the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The judge also noted that Mr. Rich could not have been defamed by the story under New York law, because he was dead.”
“In a related decision, Judge Daniels also dismissed a separate lawsuitbrought against Fox News, Ms. Zimmerman and Mr. Butowsky by a private detective who had played a central role in the retracted story.
The detective, Rod Wheeler, was hired by the Rich family on Mr. Butowsky’s recommendation to help them investigate their son’s death. Mr. Wheeler — who was himself a Fox News contributor — was quoted in the story as saying there was “information” linking Mr. Rich to WikiLeaks. But he later accused Fox News and Ms. Zimmerman of misrepresenting what he had said, calling that action part of a coordinated effort with the White House to smear Mr. Rich and “shift the blame from Russia.””