A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich against Fox News on technical grounds. It was hardly a vindication of Fox News’ slimy, hurtful and untruthful reporting that attempted to frame him for the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and subsequent leak to Wikileaks.
You may recall that Fox News, especially Sean Hannity, promoted a baseless conspiracy theory that Rich (i.e. not Russia) was the real source of the hacked DNC emails delivered to Wikileaks and that he was murdered by a Clinton operative as a result.
Although Variety noted that if he were alive, Rich might have had a good case for defamation, there was a higher bar for his parents’ case that had not been met. It’s noteworthy that the judge suggested Fox’s reporting was every bit as irresponsible as the Rich family alleged, but they had not proved that it reached the level of “extreme and outrageous.”
In his ruling on Thursday, Judge George Daniels found that the complaint failed to satisfy the elements required under federal 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,” Daniels wrote. “However, a general allegation that Defendants had an ‘agreement to collaborate against’ Plaintiffs cannot form the basis of an IIED [intentional infliction of emotional distress] claim. … Plaintiffs’ complaint is dismissed in its entirety.”
Watch Joel and Mary Rich, Seth’s parents, discuss how Fox compounded the family’s tragedy for the sake of Trump-friendly propaganda below, from ABC’s March 15, 2018 Good Morning America.
Crossposted at News Hounds.