Fox News settles with Seth Rich family for undisclosed sum over DNC hacking claims

Namita Singh
·2-min read
Seth Rich with his parents during a family trip to Washington on the spring of 2013 (Rich family)
Seth Rich with his parents during a family trip to Washington on the spring of 2013 (Rich family)

Fox News has settled a lawsuit filed by the parents of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer whose unsolved murder in July 2016 became the basis of right-wing conspiracy theories floated by the network.

Joel Rich and his wife Mary Rich had filed the suit over a May 2017 story that claimed their 27-year-old son may have been murdered in retribution for sharing internal DNC documents with Wikileaks in the heat of the 2016 presidential election campaign, even as police said his murder was believed to be the result of a botched robbery.

Fox News eventually retracted the story, which had connected Rich to the DNC leaks without evidence.

The theory allowed President Donald Trump's allies to divert attention from the fact that Russia was responsible for the DNC hacking and handed the emails to Wikileaks, as the Senate Intelligence Committee later concluded.

The settlement, announced on Tuesday, ended a two-and-a-half year lawsuit in which his family sued Fox News for emotional distress.

In a statement, Mr and Ms Rich said they were pleased by the settlement, and said they hoped the media would exercise greater caution in future.

“The settlement with Fox News closes another chapter in our efforts to mourn the murder of our beloved Seth, whom we miss every single day,” they said.

“It allows us to move on from the litigation we initiated in response to Fox News’ May 2017 article and televised statements concerning Seth’s murder. We are pleased with the settlement of this matter and sincerely hope that the media will take genuine caution in the future.”

The parties filed a joint notice dismissing the case in federal court in New York on Tuesday.

A Fox News spokesperson commented: "We are pleased with the resolution of the claims and hope this enables Mr and Ms Rich to find a small degree of peace and solace moving forward."

The terms of the settlement were, however, not disclosed by either party. The retraction was believed to be one of the first made of a Fox News story.

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