The family of slain Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich has filed a lawsuit against Fox News over a retracted report about their son’s death.
According to CNN, the lawsuit alleges Fox News reported Malia Zimmerman worked with businessman Ed Butowsky to create a “sham” story about Rich’s death.
The story said private investigator Rod Wheeler learned WikiLeaks and Rich communicated before his death. It suggested he leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks and was killed because of the leak and not a botched robbery, as police suspected.
The story was published on May 2017 and referenced on air but was retracted about a week later.
ABC News reported the lawsuit argues that Zimmerman and Butowsky are liable for damages because of the “intentional infliction of emotional distress” the story caused. The introduction of the lawsuit states Rich’s parents, Joel and Mary, are seeking justice for being “collateral damage in a political war.”
“No parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure. The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son’s life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension,” Joel and Mary said in a joint statement to ABC News.
Butowsky told ABC News it was “one of the dumbest” lawsuits he’d ever seen and said a lawsuit that says someone benefited from the story “just smells weird.”
The lawsuit claims that Joel and Mary are experiencing symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and Mary is experiencing symptoms consistent with Social Anxiety Disorder.
It seeks financial compensation for economic, monetary, and emotional damages, as well as, reasonable attorneys’ fees and punitive damages. Zimmerman, Butowsky, and Fox News are the three defendants named in the suit.
Wheeler also filed a suit against Fox News in August 2017.