Fox News has asked a federal court to dismiss a suit filed by a longtime commentator who alleged that the community and a supporter of President Trump adorned a story about Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich and his link to WikiLeaks and leaks of DNC emails.
Filed Monday at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Fox News seeks dismissal of a case filed by Rod Wheeler, who’s appeared on Fox News as a paid law enforcement and crime analyst, arguing that he was not defamed and the situation should be handled by an arbitrator.
Rich, 27, was shot to death July 10, 2016 at a random robbery attempt, according to Washington authorities. No arrests have been made in the case.
Conspiracy theories arose once a month afterwards, WikiLeaks published a trove of all DNC mails and WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange’s suggested Rich might have become the origin of the data, not the Russians.
But Fox News, in its most recent filing, challenges Wheeler’s argument, alleging he made “substantially the same statements” in interviews before and after the report, also said “the post he says is untrue ‘was basically correct and worthy of further analysis’. ”
Wheeler “was neither misquoted nor defamed,” Fox News said in its movement. And it argues that his employment discrimination claim falls short since it alleges “in only vague and conclusory terms that Fox News did not give him the exact same employment opportunities as other contributors. Wheeler fails to plead the facts necessary to support such a charge, because there aren’t any such facts.claim,” the motion states.
Because any promises he has should be handled by mediation, according to his agreement with the network, Fox News states, Wheeler’s case should not proceed.
Douglas Wigdor, a New York lawyer representing Wheeler stated Fox wants to keep “individuals in the dark on what today is an issue of serious public concern,” he said in an announcement to USA TODAY. “We are confident that our client will be vindicated at a public court of law which will expose how Fox and the individually named defendants created fake news in an attempt at diverting attention from the hacking scandal.”
Ed Butowsky, outstanding Fox News and a Dallas financial adviser and Fox Business Network guest, also filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the case. Butowsky had hired Wheeler to research their son’s departure.
Wheeler had alleged that Butowsky and Fox News investigative journalist Malia Zimmerman had helped in the embellishment of the story to advance “a political agenda for the Trump Administration.”
In his filing, Butowsky claims despite all the “attention-grabbing details” in Wheeler’s suit, “the complaint fails to plausibly allege even the most basic elements of defamation. … While (Wheeler) will regret his decision to participate with the investigation and media discussion surrounding the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich due to the consequent negative media attention, his case is one in pursuit of a viable legal concept”