We don’t know why Rod Wheeler changed his story regarding the now-infamous Seth Rich report, but he did — and Fox News needs to put their story back up, continue investigating, and support their reporter Malia Zimmerman.
Wheeler has filed a lawsuit against the network and Ed Butowsky, who had offered the Rich family financial assistance to hire a private investigator. The lawsuit claims that Zimmerman had misquoted him and misrepresented his statements within her report.
Here are the quotes that Wheeler claims Zimmerman made up — and absolute proof that she did no such thing:
“My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and Wikileaks.”
Wheeler can be heard thoroughly detailing his belief that Rich was contact with WikiLeaks in this audio recording which was provided to Big League Politics.
Appearing on Hannity on the evening that Zimmerman’s report was released, Wheeler stated:
“This person, we checked him out, very credible, he said he laid eyes on the computer and he laid eyes on the case file …When you look at that with the totality of everything else I have found in this case, it’s very consistent for a person with my experience to begin to think well perhaps there were some email communications between Seth and Wikileaks.”
Additionally, one week after the Fox stories dropped, Wheeler stated verbatim during an interview with investigator George Webb, “I do believe there was some communication between Seth Rich and Wikileaks.”
In an interview on Monday, May 15, one day before the Fox News report which they have now removed, Wheeler told Fox 5 DC he had sources at the FBI confirming there was evidence of communication between Seth Rich and Wikileaks. This is the verbatim exchange:
Fox 5 DC: “You have sources at the FBI saying that there is information…”
Wheeler: “For sure.”
Fox 5 DC: “…that could link Seth Rich to Wikileaks.”
Wheeler: “Absolutely. That’s confirmed.”
“My investigation shows someone within the DC government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team, is blocking the murder investigation from going forward. That is unfortunately. Seth Rich’s murder is unsolved as a result of that.”
On the eve of Zimmerman publishing her report, Wheeler emailed Zimmerman in an exchange provided to Big League Politics:
“Here is another quote you may want to consider using ‘I sincerely believe that there is an underground culture of corruption that exist within the confines of the nations capital that includes quite possibly the crime of murder. It’s time that the FBI immediately conduct a full and thorough investigation to not only the death and who caused the death of Seth rich but those that he was involved with and others regarding the Democratic national committee.’”
Wheeler had brought up Shawn Lucas in previous text messages, which is likely one of the other cases he was referring to in the email. The 38-year-old was found dead in his apartment from a cocktail of fentanyl, cyclobenzaprine, and mitragynine. He had served the Democratic National Committee and Debbie Wasserman Schultz with a class action lawsuit on July 5 — less than a month prior to his death.
On March 2, Wheeler began text messaging Zimmerman asking her if she was available for a phone call and claiming that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser “has her hands in the investigation.”
“I also learned that mayor Bowser has her hands in the investigation! She’s in deep with the DNC,” Wheeler wrote in his text.
On March 30, Wheeler wrote Zimmerman saying, “It’s time to ask the Justice Department to take over this investigation! ( and others- there is something politically shady going on with these cases and I don’t think the D.C. PD can handle it!! ).”
April 9, Wheeler sent Zimmerman a text containing a link to a news story about the Rich case and writing, “this is interesting. I’m ready to say that Seths Death was not a botched street robbery and there appears to be a coverup within the D.C. Govt related to this death.”
In text messages to Zimmerman on April 27 which we released on Monday, Wheeler wrote that “I also spoke with another source today who informed me that not only was Donna Brazil snooping around wanting to know what was I learning with regards to the DNC and Seth rich but also I was told that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was snooping around wanting to know how much it was I learning.”
Prior to publishing her report, Zimmerman forwarded a draft to Wheeler for review — which included the quotes he now denies.
The text message exchange regarding the draft:
Zimmerman: Can you read the story now?
Zimmerman: Get back to me as soon as you can so I can turn it in. Thanks!
Wheeler: Reading it now.
Wheeler: Malia you can add that I do strongly believe that the answers to who murdered Seth sits on his computer on a shelf at the D.C. Police or FBI headquarters!
Zimmerman: Ok. I’ll add it.
On May 23, Fox News removed the story after Wheeler claimed that he was misquoted. The network issued a statement which read as follows:
“On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. 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. We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.”
Multiple sources have told Big League Politics that Seth Rich coverage was squashed and removed due to internal politics involving members of the Murdoch family — not because Zimmerman hadn’t properly investigated her story.
We are now calling on Fox News to review flood of proof confirming Zimmerman’s reporting — and to defend their brave reporter’s work, republish the story, and continue investigating. It is warranted.