Fox News sued by parents of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich

Joel and Mary Rich say they have PTSD because of a Fox News story they claim painted their son as a traitor

Joel and Mary Rich say they have PTSD because of a Fox News story they claim painted their son as a traitor

The family of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, who was killed in 2016, has filed a lawsuit against Fox News, an investigative reporter and one of the network's frequent guests over a story about Rich and allegations that he was involved in a conspiracy, according to the lawsuit. After reportedly finding that WikiLeaks had been in contact with Rich before his death, the reporters falsely suggested that Rich had been responsible for the massive DNC email leak. Butowsky went on to state that he has communications between himself and the couple that he says substantiate the core of the theory promoted by the Fox News article-that Rich provided WikiLeaks with emails.

Because of the false reporting, the lawsuit claims the Richs have symptoms of PTSD and obsessive compulsive behavior, noting "they feel compelled to review the news stories, tweets, and internet material falsely stating that Seth was WikiLeak's source for the DNC emails." iMediaEthics has written to the Rich family's lawyer for further comment.

After mounting backlash, Fox News retracted the story in May 2017.

The lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court of Manhattan, claims Fox spread the false story "through lies, misrepresentations, and half-truths - with disregard for the obvious harm that their actions would cause Joel and Mary".

"The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension", they said.

Fox News claimed to have confirmation from two sources that Rich was a WikiLeaks informant. Unbeknownst to the family, however, Wheeler was working on an article about Rich's death with Butowsky and Zimmerman.

Butowsky, for his part, claims that he didn't write the piece, and that including him in the lawsuit is "baseless and frivolous". In their suit, the Riches say they have exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder stemming from their son's death and the conspiracy theories that followed.

The suit over the May 2017 report accuses Fox News of intentionally causing his parents severe emotional distress to the parents of 27-year-old Seth Rich.

The Riches claim in their lawsuit that Fox News convinced them to work with investigator Rod Wheeler in order to get to the bottom of what happened to their son.

To that end, Leonard A. Gail, the attorney representing the Rich family, said in a statement that "Joel and Mary Rich have brought this case" to hold the defendants "accountable for their reprehensible actions". "Rich should come forward and be honest with people".

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