Seth Rich: Fox News sued by parents of slain DNC staffer over retracted story

NEW YORK — The parents of a Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich who was killed in July 2016 have filed a federal lawsuit alleging Fox News exploited the slaying as a “political football.”

Joel and Mary Rich claim Fox News, a reporter and a guest commentator used “lies, misrepresentations and half-truths” in a May 16, 2017, article that claimed their son had leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign.

Fox News retracted a story in May that said Seth Rich may have leaked sensitive emails before he was murdered. The network removed the week-old story, saying it was not initially subjected to its “high degree of editorial scrutiny.” There’s no evidence that Rich leaked the emails, but several conservative commentators still sensationalize the conspiracy theory. Russian operatives are believed to be behind the leaks.

Seth Rich was killed in what Washington police believe was a random robbery attempt. He was 27 years old.

The report quoted a private investigator suggesting that Seth Rich had some connection to WikiLeaks.

That investigator, Rod Wheeler, sued Fox for defamation in August. His suit alleges that Fox News defamed him by fabricating two quotes and attributing them to him. He claims that the defamation has damaged his reputation by blaming him as the deceptive story fell apart.

Fox News declined comment citing the pending litigation.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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