Nearly half a year after the parents of Seth Rich went after Fox News Channel for damages caused by an admittedly false report about the murdered Democratic National Committee staffer, Joel and Mary Rich were told today by a federal judge that heartbreaking grief is not enough under the law.
“It is understandable that Plaintiffs might feel that their grief and personal loss were taken advantage of, and that the tragic death of their son was exploited for political purposes,” District Judge George Daniels said in his decision and order over their intentional infliction of emotion distress filing of mid-March over postings and stories by FNC about their child that started in May 2017. “However, a general allegation that Defendants had an ‘agreement to collaborate against’ Plaintiffs cannot form the basis of an IIED claim,” he added (read it here). “Plaintiffs’ complaint is dismissed in its entirety.”
Fox News did not respond to request for comment on the now seemingly resolved matter.
Rich was killed in a purported street robbery in 2016. The case has never been solved, and since then, many media have hinted that he was a source of DNC emails that were leaked, many of them damaging to the Democrats in the 2016 presidential election race.
The Fox News article of May 17, 2017 that is the heart of the Rich’s now dismissed suit allegedly contained “false and fabricated facts,” according to the filing. Since repudiated by FNC itself and, after much on-air time dedicated to the matter, Sean Hannity himself, the posting fueled much repeated conspiracy theories that Rich was murdered in connection with a massive WikiLeaks data dump of 20,000 DNC emails that occurred just days after his death.
This was the second suit the Rupert Murdoch owned outlet faced over the Rich matter, with former Washington D.C. homicide detective and sometimes FNC contributor Rod Wheeler going after the news cabler in August 2017 for the article and subsequent segments he was a part of. Initially hired by the Rich family before participating in the Malia Zimmerman penned piece, Wheeler dropped that action later in 2017. Today, he saw Judge Daniels kick a defamation suit the ex-detective launched against FNC to the curb too.