A Washington D.C. private detective has filed a lawsuit against Fox News, claiming that President Trump and the network worked together to promote a now-retracted article suggesting that the mysterious shooting death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich on July 10, 2016 was in retaliation for leaking Hillary Clinton’s emails to Wikileaks.
Rod Wheeler, a former Washington police detective and Fox News contributor, claims in his complaint filed in federal court that the network defamed him by making up quotes “with reckless disregard for the truth” and attributing them to him in an effort to beef up the false story line.
According to Wheeler, the motive behind the deception was “to shift the blame from Russia and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Presidential election,” a report by Bloomberg said.
Wheeler also says in his complaint that President Trump personally reviewed the Fox story before it was published on May 16.
“Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article,” wrote Ed Butowsky, a Fox News contributor and friend to former Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, in a May 14 text message to Wheeler. “He wants the article out immediately. It’s now all up to you. [B]ut don’t feel the pressure.”
Wheeler claims that Butowsky told him the fake quotes were included in the story because “that is the way the President wanted the article.”