GOPer Accused Of Pushing Seth Rich Conspiracy At Fox: Lawsuit Is ‘Nonsense’

Ed Butowsky, a Republican donor and Fox News commentator accused in a new lawsuit of pushing a conspiracy theory about a murdered DNC staffer at Fox News, on Tuesday night told CNN that the lawsuit is “full of nonsense.”

Butowsky was named in lawsuit filed Tuesday by Rod Wheeler, a former police detective and Fox News contributor, who alleged he was roped into an effort to publish a story claiming that the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, had been in contact with Wikileaks. The story was quickly retracted from the Fox News website, and Wheeler now alleges that his quotes in the story were made up by a Fox News reporter.

Wheeler, who was hired by Butowsky and the Rich family to investigate Rich’s murder, revealed in the lawsuit that he and Butowksy met with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about their findings, which Spicer confirmed. Wheeler also alleged that Butwosky said he had been in contact with the White House and President Donald Trump about the article, allegedly telling Wheeler that Trump wanted the article published.

Throughout his interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday night, Butowsky pushed back against several of Wheeler’s claims, sometimes giving confusing and convoluted answers. He also tried to discredit Wheeler, suggesting that he was filing the lawsuit because he is “dead broke.”

He said that the claims that Trump knew about the article were “not true.”

“I never talked to anybody at the White House,” Butowsky told CNN. “I’ve never talked to President Trump in my life. And President Trump nor the White house has anything to do with any of this.”

Butowsky said that a voicemail cited by Wheeler in the lawsuit in which he mentions to Wheeler that their work has the White House’s attention was actually about another D.C. detective who wanted whistleblower status in order to talk freely to Wheeler.

The lawsuit also cites a text message from Butowsky to Wheeler, in which Butowsky claims that Trump read the article and wanted it published quickly. Butowsky said this was “tongue-in-cheek.”

Butowsky told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that when he met with Spicer about his findings, he did not tell the press secretary the purpose of the meeting beforehand. Butowsky told CNN that he told Spicer about claims he says reporter Seymour Hersh made about the FBI having a copy of Rich’s hard drive. (Hersh told NPR that he hears “gossip” and suggested Butowsky “took two and two and made 45 out of it.”)

Butowsky told CNN that Spicer “had no interest at all” in learning more about their investigation into Rich’s death and that they only talked about it for a minute before engaging in small talk.

Despite the fact that Fox News retracted its story reporting that Rich was in contact with Wikileaks, Butwosky told CNN, “I don’t believe there’s anything in that story that isn’t accurate.” He said he believes it was retracted because Wheeler complained that he was misquoted. Butowsky, however, said that Wheeler was quoted accurately.

Watch Butowsky’s full interview via CNN:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK