On Thursday, Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected a suit against Fox News brought by the parents of Seth Rich saying while he understood Joel and Mary Rich’s feeling their son’s death may have been exploited for political purposes, the lawsuit lacked sufficient evidence of wrongdoing that would be necessary in moving forward to trial.
In a lawsuit filed by Joel and Mary Rich in March of this year, the slain DNC staffer’s parents were seeking compensation for “mental anguish and emotional distress” they claimed was caused by a baseless conspiracy theory being published by Fox News.
The lawsuit specifically names Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman, who is claimed in the lawsuit to have worked along side Texas businessman Ed Butowsky to have developed a “sham” story about Rich’s death that Fox News published on May 16th, 2017 and referenced on-air several times.
The article stated that Seth Rich had leaked thousands of DNC emails to WikiLeaks prior to being shot and killed in July of 2016, where it’s claimed to have been nothing more than a random robbery. Although, nothing was taken from his person. Fox News later retracted their story seven days after publication.
The burden necessary to be met by Seth’s parents would have to include proving the infliction of emotional distress, but on Thursday Judge Daniels ruled that Fox News’ behavior did not meet that burden and dismissed the suit all together.
In addition to dismissing the Rich’s lawsuit, Judge Daniels also dismissed a related suit by Rod Wheeler, a private investigator saying that his defamation claims against Fox News were based on five statements that cannot be proven. Wheeler had made claims that when Fox News posted the story on the possible leaks to Wikileaks by Seth Rich that they had put words in his mouth. Wheeler alleged in his lawsuit that the comments were not only false, but had been added to the story to discredit investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to NBC Washington.
In May, a separate lawsuit was filed by former spokesman for the Rich family, Brad Bauman, that brought defamation claims against a media outlet and three individuals.
That suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, sought both monetary relief and asked for “false and defamatory materials to be removed from any websites over which defendants have control,” which is known as injunctive relief.
The defendants named were Matt Couch, Couch’s media company America First Media, Howard Gary Heavin, the co-founder of Curves International, and Ed Butowsky.
Bauman is a long time Democratic operative who claims to have volunteered to handle all media inquiries for the Rich family but it’s been alleged that Bauman had been injected into the situation to help cover Seth Rich’s murder, specifically by the DNC.
“Today is a big win for the 1st Amendment and what we’ve been fighting for,” Matt Couch, founder of America First Media told Big League Politics. “All of our information has always came from highly credible sources. It’s apparent that one side wants this swept under the rug, and the other side wants the truth.”
Today’s dismissal is good news for America First Media and Couch who were sued in a frivolous lawsuit by Seth Rich’s brother, Aaron Rich who is represented by former Obama White House attorneys, as well as former spokesman for the Rich family, Brad Bauman.
“Everything that’s in that lawsuit is basically what we’ve been saying this whole time, said Couch in a Periscope stream earlier today. “So, if you’re going to toss that lawsuit out, how are you not going to toss the lawsuits out by Brad Bauman and Aaron Rich. That’s the question that we will ask the honorable judge in Washington, D.C. that is presiding over these cases.”
Breaking News New York Federal Judge dismisses Lawsuit Filed by Seth Rich’s parents against Fox News and others! https://t.co/FYopSroD62
— Matt Couch ❌ 🎙 (@RealMattCouch) August 2, 2018
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