WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A former D.C. cop and Fox News contributor alleges President Trump himself pushed Fox News to publish a baseless story about a D.C. murder.
Rod Wheeler just filed a federal lawsuit against Fox, alleging he was misquoted in the story about the investigation into the murder of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staffer.
The now-retracted story suggested it was murder victim Rich who leaked emails from the DNC during the election and not the Russians.
Wheeler said in May that the FBI had Rich's laptop, and that the laptop showed Rich had been leaking the emails that helped sink Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign.
"Absolutely. And that's confirmed," Wheeler said at the time.
But Wheeler now says Fox News and a wealthy contributor cooked up the story to distract from the investigation of Russian election hacking and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.
The first page of his lawsuit features a text to Wheeler from Dallas investor and Trump supporter Ed Butowsky: "Not to add any more pressure, but the President just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to you. But don't feel the pressure."
Wheeler's not talking to reporters now, but the lawsuit alleges Fox ruined his reputation with two false quotes, including "My investigation shows someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committee is blocking the investigation from going forward."
What's weird though is that he said something close to that on camera.
"Actually, I have a source inside the police department who says, 'Rod, we were told to stand down in this case,'" he told Fox in May.
The conspiracy theories have shaken Rich's family, and spokesman Brad Bauman says they're hoping this is the end of it. "For a family trying to grieve to have to go over and over and over this just tears their hearts out."
Police believe Rich was killed in a botched robbery. And they continue their hunt for his murderer.
Butowsky, the Dallas investor and Trump supporter now insists to NPR that he was just joking about the President pushing the story.
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