The parents of slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich are suing Fox News, claiming writers and editors knowingly and maliciously spread false information about their son’s killing.
Police said they believe Rich was killed during a botched robbery in July 2016, but conspiracy theorists seized on the incident as something more sinister.
Fox News’ local affiliate WTTG published a story on May 16, 2017 saying that Rich was in contact with the Wikileaks and leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee to the website.
Rich’s parents say in the lawsuit that their son never leaked documents to Wikileaks. Fox News retracted the story about Rich’s ties to Wikileaks, saying it did not reach the outlet’s ethical standards.
Mary and Joel Rich are suing Fox News for inflicting emotional distress, interference with a contract and negligence. They are seeking $75,000 before costs, punitive damages other fees, according to a lawsuit filed in New York.
Mary Rich can no longer work because of the emotional stress from her son’s killing and the false story, the lawsuit says.
Mary and Joel Rich wrote op-ed in the Washington Post after the false story was published, calling the death of their son a “nightmare” and asked people to “stop politicizing” their son’s death. Fox retracted the article on the same day, the lawsuit says.
They wrote that instead of having time to mourn their son’s death, they are responding to some reporters’ questions about whether or not his death was part of a conspiracy theory related to him allegedly handing DNC emails over to Wikileaks.
They called the theories “baseless” and asked people to stop causing them “unbearable” pain.
“Seth’s death has been turned into a political football. Every day we wake up to new headlines, new lies, new factual errors, new people approaching us to take advantage of us and Seth’s legacy. It just won’t stop,” they wrote. “The amount of pain and anguish this has caused us is unbearable. With every conspiratorial flare-up, we are forced to relive Seth’s murder and a small piece of us dies as more of Seth’s memory is torn away from us.””
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