The parents of Seth Rich, a staffer for the Democratic National Committee whose death became the fodder for right-wing conspiracy theories, reached an undisclosed settlement with Fox News on Tuesday.
Mary and Joel Rich sued Fox News in 2018 after the news outlet published an article on its website suggesting, without evidence, that Rich was murdered over leaks of DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Coverage of the angle appeared on several Fox News shows, including those hosted by Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs.
Rich, 27, was shot and killed in Washington D.C. in 2016 in what authorities have said they believed it was a robbery gone wrong. His case remains unsolved.
Fox News retracted the article seven days later, saying at the time it didn’t uphold editorial standards. But the story grew into a baseless conspiracy theory and the Rich family accused the network of “extreme and outrageous” conduct with its coverage.
“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 in a statement. “We are pleased with the settlement of this matter and sincerely hope that the media will take genuine caution in the future.”
The terms of the arrangement were not disclosed. The lawsuit had named Fox News, the article’s reporter, Malia Zimmerman, and Ed Butowsky, who served as a frequent guest on the network and was involved in the retracted piece.
Fox said Tuesday it was “pleased with the resolution of the claims and hope this enables Mr. and Mrs. Rich to find a small degree of peace and solace moving forward.”
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