The parents of a former Democratic National Committee staffer sued Fox News for a story the network published and later retracted about their son Seth Rich, who was shot and killed in Washington, D.C. in July 2016, ABC News reported Tuesday evening.
A Fox News spokesperson told TPM Wednesday that the network “can’t comment on this pending litigation.”
The May 2017 Fox News article peddled incorrect theories that Rich was murdered because he was connected to the WikiLeaks release of 20,000 DNC emails, which occurred after his death. The article linked Rich to the leak of the emails to WikiLeaks, but the U.S. intelligence community said in October 2016 that the Russian government was behind the hacks.
Police say Rich may have been the victim of a robbery when he was shot in the back several times and later died in the hospital in July 2016, but the murder of the 27-year-old still remains unsolved.
In the lawsuit, which was obtained by ABC News, Rich’s parents claim that Fox News, investigative reporter Malia Zimmerman and commentator Ed Butowsky are liable for the harm inflicted on Rich’s family by spreading “false and fabricated facts” about their son’s death. A Fox News spokesperson noted to TPM that Butowsky was never actually a Fox News contributor.
Fox News retracted that story in late May 2017 because it was not “subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting,” the network said in a statement at the time.
“No parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure. The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son’s life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension,” Rich’s parents Joel and Mary Rich told ABC News in a joint statement.