As we reported previously, investigator Rod Wheeler filed the defamation suit today in NY, accusing Fox of making up parts of a story about Rich and alleging that President Trump pressured Fox to publish the story. According to Wheeler, the network defamed him by knowingly fabricating quotes and attributing them to him in its story, which was titled "Seth Rich, slain DNC staffer, had contact with WikiLeaks, say multiple sources".
Wheeler alleges that Fox News and a wealthy Trump supporter wanted the conspiracy to take attention off of the growing probe by investigators into possible connections between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation.
The suit also alleges that Butowsky kept Sean Spicer, then White House spokesman, and senior Trump aide Steve Bannon, informed about his efforts.
Butowskysaid that a voicemail cited by Wheeler in the lawsuit in which he mentions to Wheeler that their work has the White House's attention was actually about another D.C. detective who wanted whistleblower status in order to talk freely to Wheeler. At the heart of the lawsuit is private investigator Rod Wheeler, and you may be wondering, who is he and why is he filing a lawsuit against Fox News?
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had no knowledge of the false story before it was posted and that it was "completely untrue" that the White House had any role in shaping it.
Other photos on Wheeler'sFacebook page, like the following photo, show Rod standing inside the White House press room.
Butowsky, the Dallas investor and Trump supporter now insists to NPR that he was just joking about the President pushing the story. Wheeler initially appeared on Washington Fox affiliate WTTG-TV to discuss the story, but later told CNN he had no evidence to support the claim.
Rich, a Democratic National Campaign staffer, was killed past year in Washington D.C.in what authorities believe was a botched robbery. "But don't feel the pressure", Butowsky wrote to Wheeler in a text, the lawsuit said.
"I've never talked to President Trump in my life", Butowsky said, denying that the White House had "anything to do with any of this".
Fox New's story about Rich originally aired in May, but was retracted a week later. He told the outlet "it had nothing to do with advancing the president's domestic agenda" and "they were just informing" him of the Fox story. Butowsky said "the lawsuit is bullshit" and Wheeler's lawyer "pulled this out of his butt to make money".
Spicer admits to taking the meeting, saying he did so as a favor to Butowsky. In may, foxreportedthey had proof the conspiracy theory about Seth rich giving to e-mails to wikileaks was real. He says he got involved after being contacted by a well connected Republican donor and trump supporter.
"According to Butowsky, the statements were falsely attributed to Mr. Wheeler because that is the way the President wanted the article", the lawsuit alleged.
Butowsky did not immediately comment to CNBC for this article.
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