Trump and Spicer could be deposed in suit alleging collusion with Fox News on bogus Seth Rich story
The lawyer representing a private investigator in a suit against Fox News wants to depose Donald Trump and Sean Spicer of their connection to the bogus Seth Rich murder conspiracy, Yahoo reports.
“We’ll want to depose anyone who has information,” attorney Douglas Wigdor said. Wigdor is representing Rod Wheeler, a Washington-based private investigator who says Fox News reporters attributed erroneous quotes to advance a false story about former DNC staffer Seth Rich.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in New York federal court against Fox News, reporter Malia Zimmerman and commentator Ed Butowsky. The original report, retracted a full week after it was published, suggested that Rich may have been the source of leaked emails from the DNC to Wikileaks.
It was subsequently hyped by Fox News heavyweights, including Sean Hannity, who eventually promised to stop speaking about the incident at the request of Rich’s family. Wheeler, who had been investigating Rich’s death on his own, alleges Fox News inserted fake quotes to bolster its own—and the president’s—agenda.
“Butowsky and Zimmerman were not simply Good Samaritans,” the lawsuit reads. “They were interested in advancing a political agenda for the Trump Administration. Specifically, it was their aim to have Mr. Wheeler confirm that: i) Seth Rich was responsible for the leak of DNC emails to WikiLeaks; and ii) Seth Rich was murdered by a Democrat operative because he leaked the emails to WikiLeaks.”
According to the complaint, Butowsky texted Wheeler two days before the story’s publication, insisting “[The president] wants the article out immediately.” The suit also alleges Butowsky left a message on Wheeler’s phone, insisting “we have the full, uh, attention of the White House, on this. And tomorrow, let’s close this deal, whatever we’ve got to do. But you can feel free to say that the White House is onto this.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday insisted Trump did not have prior knowledge of the erroneous report.
“The President had no knowledge of the story and it is completely untrue that there was White House involvement in the story,” she said. “Beyond that, this is ongoing litigation and I refer you to the actual parties involved, which aren’t the White House.”