Emotional Distress

Fox News Settles Emotional Distress Suit

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On November 24th, Fox News settled a lawsuit brought by the parents of Seth Rich, a former Democratic Committee staffer who a Fox reporter falsely accused of leaking thousands of Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In a story published on May 16, 2017, then-Fox reporter Malia Zimmerman quoted an anonymous federal investigator who claimed that he had seen an FBI report linking Rich to WikiLeaks. Rich was killed in July 10, 2016 during a purportedly botched robbery.

The Fox story further alleges a connection between the DNC and Rich’s murder, quoting a former DC homicide detective and Fox news contributor who  claimed that “someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committe or [Hilary] Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward.” 

Fox retracted the story a week later, stating that it hadn’t been “initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all of our reporting.”  

Despite the retraction, other conservatives including Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones of InfoWars continued to peddle the false narrative. 

Rich’s parents filed their lawsuit in March 2018, alleging that Fox News’ “extreme and outrageous” actions caused an intentional infliction of emotional distress.

While neither party disclosed the terms of the settlement, a Fox News spokesperson told Courthouse News, “We are pleased with the resolution of the claims and hope this enables Mr. and Mrs. Rich to find a small degree of peace and solace moving forward.”


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