It’s long been believed that Fox News is President Trump’s favorite news outlet. Well, if the allegations in a new lawsuit are true, we now have all the proof we need that the two are actually working together.
Here are five of the most revealing bombshells from the lawsuit which was filed in federal court in Manhattan by Rod Wheeler, a Fox News law enforcement/crime analyst. Wheeler, a former Washington D.C. police homicide detective, and current private investigative consultant, was quoted in the retracted article about the death of Seth Rich. Now he’s suing Fox News, Ed Butowsky, a Trump supporter, and Malia Zimmerman, a Fox News reporter. The article claimed that Rich, who was murdered, was somehow connected to giving DNC emails to Wikileaks. Fox has since retracted the story.
According to the lawsuit, here are the big revelations:
#1 Trump wanted the Seth Rich story out there because he thought it would deflect from Russia. Trump thought it would help put to bed the “speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Presidential election.” Ed Butowsky, a Trump supporter and a named defendant, sent Rod Wheeler this text message:
Wheeler contends less than 36 hours after this message was sent, Fox News published a story (which was later retracted) claiming that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer, Seth Rich, was the source of the now infamous DNC emails leaked by WikiLeaks during the 2016 Presidential primaries.
#2 President Trump reviewed the Fox News story on Seth Rich before it was published.
“Incredibly, according to Butowsky, the President reviewed an article written by a Fox News journalist prior to its publication and sought to get the article published ‘immediately,'” the lawsuit reads.
# 3 The Fox News reporter, Malia Zimmerman, fabricated two quotes in the article, and attributed them to Wheeler. Here are the quotes:
“‘My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,’ said Wheeler.”
“‘My investigation shows someone within the DC government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward,’ Wheeler said. ‘That is unfortunate. Seth Rich’s murder is unsolved as a result of that.’”
#4 Wheeler presented his concerns to Fox News. Even after Wheeler presented his concerns regarding the allegedly fabricated quotes to Fox News, he was told to think of the story as an important political “narrative” that would replace the Russian story and that he needed to “stick to the script.” Fox News executives (per the suit: “Dianne Brandi, Fox News’s Executive Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs, and Jay Wallace, Fox News’s Executive Vice President of News and Editorial”) were made aware of Wheeler’s concerns almost immediately, but never addressed them directly.
#5 Completely unrelated to the Seth Rich-Russia narrative/agenda outlined in the lawsuit are allegations that Wheeler has been discriminated against by Fox News on the basis of his race. Wheeler has worked for the conservative cable news channel as a part-time contributor since 2005, repeatedly seeking full-time employment, which he has been denied. This, he claims, is due to a “systemic pattern and practice of discriminating against people of color.”
Jay Wallace, President of News at Fox News, said the allegations were false.
“The accusation that FoxNews.com published Malia Zimmerman’s story to help detract from coverage of the Russia collusion issue is completely erroneous,” he told LawNewz.com in a statement. “The retraction of this story is still being investigated internally and we have no evidence that Rod Wheeler was misquoted by Zimmerman. Additionally, FOX News vehemently denies the race discrimination claims in the lawsuit — the dispute between Zimmerman and Rod Wheeler has nothing to do with race.”
Alberto Luperon contributed to this report.
Update – August 1, 12:12 p.m. EST: Added a statement from Fox News’ Jay Wallace.