Parents of Seth Rich Seek Justice for Exploitation of Their Son’s Murder

March 2018

Joel and Mary Rich, grieving parents of a murdered child, brought suit today against Fox News, reporter Malia Zimmerman and contributor Ed Butowsky, seeking justice for having become collateral damage in a political war to which they are innocent bystanders.

The Riches filed suit in federal court alleging that Fox News, Zimmerman, and Butowsky, individually and together, intentionally exploited the tragic murder of their son, Seth, through lies, misrepresentations, and half-truths.  With disregard for the truth and for the obvious harm that their actions would cause the Riches, Fox, Zimmerman and Butowsky propagated and developed a fictitious story that their deceased son, Seth – not Russian hackers or anyone else – provided Democratic National Committee emails to WikiLeaks.

The lawsuit centers on the Defendants’ actions and statements, including those that resulted in a May 16, 2017, Fox News article written by Fox’s Zimmerman entitled, “Slain DNC Staffer Had Contact with WikiLeaks Say Multiple Sources.”  The lawsuit also highlights Fox’s continued propagation of the baseless assertion that Seth provided the DNC emails to WikiLeaks even after Fox retracted Zimmerman’s article a week after its publication.

“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” Joel and Mary said in a joint statement.

Lead trial lawyer, Leonard A. Gail of Massey & Gail LLP, similarly noted: “Joel and Mary Rich have brought this case to hold Fox News, Fox reporter Zimmerman, and political operative and Fox News contributor Butowsky, accountable for their reprehensible actions.  Whether motivated by party politics, ratings, corporate profit, or personal gain, we hope to help prevent this kind of malicious and reckless behavior in the future so that others can be spared the hell the Riches have had to endure.” 

Joining Gail on the matter are Eli J. Kay-Oliphant and Suyash Agrawal of Massey Gail LLP, and Arun Subramanian, Elisha Barron and Gloria Park of Susman Godfrey LLP.

The case is JOEL RICH and MARY RICH, Plaintiffs, v. FOX NEWS NETWORK, LLC, MALIA ZIMMERMAN in her individual and professional capacities, and ED BUTOWSKY, in his individual and professional capacities; Case no. 18-cv-2223, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.