Fox News and the family of slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich settled a lawsuit, the parties announced Tuesday.
“The settlement with Fox News closes another chapter in our efforts to mourn the murder of our beloved Seth, whom we miss every single day. It allows us to move on from the litigation we initiated in response to Fox News’ May 2017 article and televised statements concerning Seth’s murder. We are pleased with the settlement of this matter and sincerely hope that the media will take genuine caution in the future,” Joel and Mary Rich, the parents of Seth Rich, said in a statement issued through their attorneys.
“We now look forward to devoting as much time and energy as we can to family and to preserving Seth’s memory as a blessing,” they added.
A Fox spokesperson told news outlets in a statement, “We are pleased with the resolution of the claims and hope this enables Mr. and Mrs. Rich to find a small degree of peace and solace moving forward.”
The terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.
Rich worked for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) when he was murdered on July 10, 2016 near his home in Washington. Rich’s murder has never been solved.
According to the investigator, Rich transferred some 44,053 emails to WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a former investigative reporter who is now deceased.
Fox also cited Rod Wheeler, a retired homicide detective and former Fox News contributor, who said his probe into what happened for the Rich family pointed to “some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks.”
A representative for Rich’s family disputed a connection to Wheeler, even though he had a contract signed by Rich’s father, according to Fox. Wheeler later sued Fox, alleging quotes attributed to him by the network were fabricated.Seven days after publication, Fox retracted the story.
“The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed,” the outlet said in a statement at the time.
The suit claimed that Zimmerman and Butowsky “induced” the Riches to hire Wheeler and worked with Wheeler “to pursue and develop a fiction that Seth had leaked thousands of DNC emails to WikiLeaks.” The defendants also intentionally made it look like the Riches were involved in and had confirmed the substance of the narrative, according to the suit.
A federal judge dismissed the suit in 2018 but an appeals court overruled the decision.
Butowsky referred a request for comment to his attorney, who declined to comment.
The case in question is Joel Rich and Mary Rich v. Fox News Network LLC et al., Civil Action No. 18-cv-02223, S.D.N.Y.