The parents of murdered Democratic National Committee staff member Seth Rich have filed a lawsuit against Fox News, alleging that the network “intentionally exploited” their son’s death by promoting conspiracy theories about it.
The lawsuit, detailed by ABC News Tuesday night, is centered on a story Fox News published on its website in May of 2017 suggesting that federal investigators were in possession of evidence that Rich had leaked DNC emails to the website WikiLeaks weeks before he was shot in Washington’s Bloomingdale neighborhood. The story quickly became and has remained a focus of conspiracy theorists because it contradicted the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that the Russian government was behind the email hacking at the DNC.
The lawsuit brought by Rich’s parents accuses Fox News and two individuals, reporter Malia Zimmerman and Dallas businessman and Fox News guest Ed Butowsky of seizing on Rich’s death in an to exonerate the president of allegations that his campaign colluded with the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
Under great scrutiny, Fox News retracted the story six days after it was published, but the lawsuit alleges that the network has permanently altered their son’s legacy by moving theories about his death “from the fringe to the front pages and screens of the mainstream media.”
“No parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure,” Joel and Mary Rich said in a statement, according to ABC News. “The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son’s life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension.”
ABC News reports that Butowsky called it "one of the dumbest" lawsuits he’d ever seen. Fox wouldn’t comment to ABC News since representatives had ot viewed the complaint.