A lawsuit against Fox News by Joel and Mary Rich, whose son Seth Rich was shot and killed in what Washington police described as a robbery attempt gone bad, has been dismissed by a federal judge.
Judge George Daniels said the Riches’ complaint that the network made up the story didn’t meet the legal requirements to proceed under federal law.
Variety reported the suit alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress, interference with a contract and negligent supervision.
Seth Rich was an employee of the Democratic National Committee at the height of the 2016 president race when internal Democratic emails were obtained by WikiLeaks. There were claims at the time that Rich might have given the emails to WikiLeaks, which posted them on the web.
The judge said: “It is understandable that plaintiffs might feel that their grief and personal loss were taken advantage of, and that the tragic death of their son was exploited for political purposes. However, a general allegation that defendants had an ‘agreement to collaborate against’ plaintiffs cannot form the basis of [a] claim.”
He dismissed the case in its entirety.
When the suit was filed earlier, the parents claimed their son’s death was used as a “political football.”
They claimed Fox News, a reporter and a guest commentator presented “lies, misrepresentations and half-truths” in a May 2017 article about the murder of their son, who served as the DNC voter-expansion data director at the time he was killed.
The article, which was later retracted, claimed an FBI forensics examination revealed that Rich had leaked emails to WikiLeaks before he was murdered. Fox News said the story was not subjected to its “high degree of editorial scrutiny.”
The Rich family lawsuit claimed Fox reporter Malia Zimmerman and Fox guest commentator Ed Butowsky made up the story linking their son to WikiLeaks.
“No parent should ever have to live through what we’ve been forced to endure,” Joel and Mary Rich said in a statement at the time. “The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son’s life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension.”
As WND has reported, Rich, 27, had accepted a position with Hillary Clinton’s campaign just before his death. He was murdered in Washington, D.C., near his apartment in an affluent neighborhood. His wallet, credit cards, watch and phone were left in his possession. The Metropolitan Police Department has described the murder as a “botched robbery.” No suspects ever have been named, and no one has been arrested.
As WND also reported, a manager at Lou’s City Bar, the last known location where Rich was seen before his murder, claimed police never interviewed the bar’s staff or requested evidence, such as footage from security cameras. And police never questioned Rich’s DNC co-workers.
Furthermore, WND reported, emergency responders, along with the Metropolitan Police Department and two local hospitals, refused to reveal what hospital admitted and treated Rich before a physician pronounced him dead on July 10, 2016. And the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner refused to release Rich’s autopsy report.