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Family's private investigator: There is evidence Seth Rich had contact with WikiLeaks prior to death

More cover-up questions

Postby smix » Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:35 pm

More cover-up questions
Washington Times

URL: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20 ... questions/
Category: Politics
Published: March 1, 2018

Description: The curious murder of Seth Rich poses questions that just won’t stay under the official rug
With the clearly unethical and most likely criminal behavior of the upper management levels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) exposed by Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee, there are two complementary areas that have been conveniently swept under the rug. The first deals with the murder of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich, and the second deals with the alleged hacking of the DNC server by Russia. Both should be of prime interest to special counsel Robert Mueller, but do not hold your breath. The facts that we know of in the murder of the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, was that he was gunned down blocks from his home on July 10, 2016. Washington Metro police detectives claim that Mr. Rich was a robbery victim, which is strange since after being shot twice in the back, he was still wearing a $2,000 gold necklace and watch. He still had his wallet, key and phone. Clearly, he was not a victim of robbery. This has all the earmarks of a targeted hit job. However, strangely no one has been charged with this horrific crime, and what is more intriguing is that no law enforcement agency is even investigating this murder. According to other open sources, Metro police were told by their “higher ups” that if they spoke about the case, they will be immediately terminated. It has been claimed that this order came down from very high up the “food chain,” well beyond the D.C. mayor’s office. Interesting. One more unexplained twist is that on July 10, 2016, the same day Seth Rich was murdered, an FBI agent’s car was burglarized in the same vicinity. Included in the FBI equipment stolen was a 40 caliber Glock 22. D.C. Metro police issued a press release, declaring that the theft of the FBI agent’s car occurred between 5 and 7 a.m. Two weeks later, the FBI changed the time of the theft to between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. Was the FBI gun used to shoot Seth Rich? Neither the FBI nor the Metro police will discuss. Another aspect that needs to be uncovered is the FBI’s “denial” that its cyber experts who share space with the D.C. Metro police department at Cleveland Avenue in the District, assisted in accessing data on Mr. Rich’s laptop. Not likely. Data on the laptop revealed that Mr. Rich downloaded thousands of DNC emails and was in touch with Wikileaks. The file with evidence of what was on Mr. Rich’s laptop sits with the FBI in a co-shared space with the D.C. police department. According to Ed Butowsky, an acquaintance of the family, in his discussions with Joel and Mary Rich, they confirmed that their son transmitted the DNC emails to Wikileaks. Since then, the DNC hired a “spokesperson,” Brad Burman, a known hatchet man to basically cut off any further communications with Mr. Rich’s parents. Interestingly, it is well known in the intelligence circles that Seth Rich and his brother, Aaron Rich, downloaded the DNC emails and was paid by Wikileaks for that information. While Wikileaks doesn’t expose sources, Julian Assange gave a clear clue during an Aug. 9, 2016 interview on Dutch television when he implied that Mr. Rich was killed because he was the Wikileaks source of the DNC emails. Mr. Assange offered a $20,000 reward leading to the arrest of Mr. Rich’s killers. Also, why hasn’t Aaron Rich been interviewed, and where is he? With regard to the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC server, Mr. Assange also offered information to the Trump administration to prove Russia didn’t hack the DNC server, as the DNC claimed. Mr. Assange also met with Orange Country Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, and gave him information to present to the Trump administration to prove no one hacked the DNC server. However, with the Obama holdovers in key positions, it is not surprising that no one from the Trump administration would meet with the congressman or Mr. Assange. New Zealand tech expert Kim DotCom said he has proof that both he and Seth Rich were involved in passing the emails to Wikileaks, but he has been ignored as well. The FBI opened an investigation into the theft of the DNC emails in July 2016. However, the FBI has not inspected the DNC server because the DNC won’t give permission. Is the FBI an extension of the DNC? That’s why we have subpoenas. Instead, the FBI relied on an assessment by a cyber security firm, Crowd Strike, hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC’s law firm Perkins Coie as proof that Russia was the hacker. Incompetence is an understatement. Corruption at the highest levels of the DOJ/FBI is clear. The Trump administration must take charge and get a competent attorney general to pursue these crimes.
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Kim Dotcom: DNC Hack Was Leak From an “Insider With a Memory Stick”

Postby smix » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:33 pm

Kim Dotcom: DNC Hack Was Leak From an “Insider With a Memory Stick”
Truth in Media

URL: http://truthinmedia.com/kim-dotcom-dnc- ... ory-stick/
Category: Politics
Published: February 20, 2018

Description: Washington, D.C.— Following a tweet by President Trump on February 18th, Kim Dotcom responded by adding further details to previous statements which implied that the DNC hack during the 2016 US presidential election was actually a leak, and specifically claimed that the information was leaked by an “insider with a memory stick.”
I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018

“Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn’t even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why,” Dotcom tweeted, alleging that “Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds!” The 360 pounds is clearly a retort to Trump’s “400 pound genius” comment. Dotcom’s claims of attempting to provide evidence to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who has allegedly failed to respond to Dotcom’s lawyers, may raise questions about the impartiality and veracity of the Mueller investigation. The assertion that the DNC data was not hacked, but leaked from an insider with a memory stick, is reportedly supported by an analysis from a researcher going by the alias of the Forensicator, who determined that the 22.6 MB/s copy speed of the DNC files was “virtually impossible” to attain from overseas, but a typical speed for a transfer to a thumb drive. These results were supported in a July 2017 memo to President Trump from a group of intelligence veterans that includes former NSA intelligence official William Binney. The local transfer theory, if proven, would lend credibility to the notion that the DNC data was not hacked, but instead, was leaked. Dotcom’s claims could also explain why the DNC refused to allow the FBI to inspect its servers, and instead, relied on the analysis of a private company, CrowdStrike. Crowdstrike’s CTO and co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with openly anti-Russian sentiments that is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, who happened to donate at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Furthermore, in 2013, the Atlantic Council awarded Hillary Clinton their Distinguished International Leadership Award, and in 2014, the Atlantic Council hosted an event with former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who took over after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in early 2014. On May 18, 2017, Dotcom tweeted that if the case of Seth Rich would be included in the Congressional probe of Russian collusion/election meddling, he would provide written testimony to Congress, including evidence that Seth Rich was WikiLeaks’ source of the DNC emails. Then, two days later, Dotcom tweeted, “I knew Seth Rich. I know he was WikiLeaks’ source. I was involved.” A few days later, Dotcom released a statement, saying “I KNOW THAT SETH RICH WAS INVOLVED IN THE DNC LEAK,” adding:
I have consulted with my lawyers. I accept that my full statement should be provided to the authorities and I am prepared to do that so that there can be a full investigation. My lawyers will speak with the authorities regarding the proper process. If my evidence is required to be given in the United States I would be prepared to do so if appropriate arrangements are made. I would need a guarantee from Special Counsel Mueller, on behalf of the United States, of safe passage from New Zealand to the United States and back. In the coming days we will be communicating with the appropriate authorities to make the necessary arrangements. In the meantime, I will make no further comment.
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Parents of Seth Rich Sue Fox News, Ed Butowsky Over 2017 Story About His Murder

Postby smix » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:01 pm

Parents of Seth Rich Sue Fox News, Ed Butowsky Over 2017 Story About His Murder
PJ Media

URL: https://pjmedia.com/trending/parents-se ... ry-murder/
Category: Politics
Published: March 15, 2018

Description: The parents of Seth Rich filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Fox News, a Fox news reporter, and a wealthy Texas businessman over their roles in a story purporting that Rich was the source for Democratic Nation Committee emails leaked to WikiLeaks. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and seeks compensation for "mental anguish and emotional distress, emotional pain and suffering, and any other physical and mental injuries." "No parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure," Joel and Mary Rich said in a statement Tuesday night. "The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension." The lawsuit alleges that Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman worked with Ed Butowsky, the Texas businessman, to concoct a "sham" story about Rich's death that Fox News published in May 2017 and reported on air multiple times. The Rich family has always denied that their son was the source of the leaked emails from the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, but Butowsky, who reached out to to the family months after Rich's murder, says they told him otherwise. Butowsky, a former senior vice president at Morgan Stanley and a frequent Fox Business Network guest, claims he approached Joel and Mary Rich, who live in Omaha, Neb., in December of 2016 with a tip he had gotten about their son being the WikiLeaks source. Butowsky told PJ Media in a phone conversation that Rich's parents said, "Ed, we've known that since July -- that's nothing new." He claimed that Rich's parents and brother Aaron were interested in finding out who murdered their son, but for various reasons, they didn't want his alleged role in the WikiLeaks caper to get out. He apparently respected that wish in an interview with CNN in August of 2017. When asked by host Chris Cuomo what he said to the Rich family when he reached out to them, Butowsky replied that he had shared the information he'd heard about their son and WikiLeaks. Asked what their reaction was, Butowsky answered that Rich's parents told him they didn't believe him. Now he's changed his story. Former Admiral James Lyons first reported the turnaround in an op-ed at the Washington Times on March 1.
According to Ed Butowsky, an acquaintance of the family, in his discussions with Joel and Mary Rich, they confirmed that their son transmitted the DNC emails to Wikileaks. Since then, the DNC hired a “spokesperson,” Brad Burman, a known hatchet man to basically cut off any further communications with Mr. Rich’s parents. Interestingly, it is well known in the intelligence circles that Seth Rich and his brother, Aaron Rich, downloaded the DNC emails and was paid by Wikileaks for that information.

Butowsky confirmed to PJ Media that he was the source of this information. He said he offered to pay for a private detective for the Rich family back in December of 2016 because they had expressed frustration with how the D.C. police investigation was going. The Riches declined his offer at the time, Butowsky said. Five days after Trump's inauguration, Butowsky, following up on a lead, spoke with legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh by phone. Butowsky recorded the call and posted portions of it online. In the audio, Hersh can be heard telling Butowsky that he knew "somebody on the inside" at the FBI who was willing to "go and read a file for me." "This person is unbelievably accurate and careful," Hersh said in the recording. "He’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me." He told Butowsky that the FBI cyber unit from the Washington, D.C., field office was given Rich's computer to examine after the D.C. police had no luck getting inside. "So, um, on the same warrant, they call in the feds. The feds get through, and this is what they find," Hersh said. "This is according to the FBI report." Hersh went on to point out that there are no leaked DNC or Podesta emails that exist beyond May 22. "May 21st, May 22nd is the last email from either one of those groups," he said, adding that Rich made contact with WikiLeaks in the late spring or early summer. Hersh is heard saying in the recording:
So, they found what he’d done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC, and you know, by the way, all this sh*t about the DNC... um... you know, whether it was hacked or wasn’t hacked -- whatever happened -- the Democrats themselves wrote this sh*t, you know what I mean? All I know is that he [Seth Rich] offered a sample, an extensive sample -- you know, I’m sure dozens of emails and said, "I want money." Then later WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do. I mean, you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know. He was certainly not a dumb kid. They got access to the Dropbox. He also, and this is also in the FBI report, he also let people know with whom he was dealing, and I don’t know how he dealt -- I’ll tell you about WikiLeaks in a second -- I don’t know how he dealt with the WikiLeaks and the mechanism but he also... the word was passed according to the NSA report, "I’ve also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problem."

Hersh, nevertheless, told Butowsky that he thought Rich was probably murdered in a botched robbery attempt, as the police were saying. He had harsh words for some Obama-era leaders in the intelligence community: "I can tell you right now Brennan is an asshole," he said. "Uh, I’ve known all these people for years. Clapper is sort of a better guy, but not a rocket scientist. The NSA guy’s a f*cking moron," he added, meaning NSA director Mike Rogers. The legendary journalist told Butowsky, "I have a narrative of how that whole f*cking thing began [the Russia collusion narrative]. It’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and f*cking the f*cking president." In an interview with NPR last summer, Hersh walked back what he said in the phone call, reportedly claiming he was only "fishing for information from Butowsky." "I did not talk to anybody at the FBI — not about this," Hersh told NPR. "Nothing is certain until it's proved. And I didn't publish any story on this." PJ Media reached out to Hersh for comment and he was more than happy to explain. "I was talking heuristically," he said, meaning he was creating a narrative as a means of furthering the investigation. Hersh said that he had a good source, but not someone at the FBI who had looked at the file. He explained that there were important parts of the conversation that were missing in the tape that would have made that clear. Hersh remains skeptical, however, that Russia hacked into the DNC. When asked why he thinks the entire government -- including the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee -- have concluded that Russia was WikiLeaks' source, he answered, "because they're assholes." In January of 2017, Butowsky says he shared the Hersh tape with the Rich family. He credits it with helping him to convince them to accept his offer to pay for a private eye to crack the case. The Rich family says in their lawsuit that he lied to them to win their trust. Butowsky consulted with friends and associates -- including some people associated with Fox News -- for suggestions about whom to hire. Ultimately, he settled on Rod Wheeler, a former Washington, D.C., homicide detective who has been a paid Fox News contributor since 2005. According to the NPR, Butowsky then introduced Wheeler to Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and the three kept in contact about developments in the story. Wheeler has since filed a defamation and racial discrimination lawsuit against Fox News for allegedly misquoting him and concocting the Seth Rich story with Butowsky in an effort to help the president. Wheeler also alleges in the lawsuit that Fox News discriminated against him on the basis of his race by giving him less money and airtime than his white colleagues, a claim that the network denies. Wheeler has since dropped the discrimination claim. His lawyer, New York-based Douglas Wigdor, is known as "the Trump-loving lawyer who won't stop suing Fox News." In less than a year, Mr. Wigdor "has filed 11 actions against Fox News, in three different courts in New York City, making claims of defamation, sexual harassment and racial discrimination on behalf of 24 individual plaintiffs," according to the New York Times. Whatever his conservative "Trump-loving" credentials may be, the counselor really seems to have it out for Fox News. Butowsky vehemently denies that he coordinated with the White House to concoct the Seth Rich story and pointed to a website, Debunking Rod Wheeler's Claims, to learn the truth about the case. The amiable Texan does admit that he visited the White House to brief then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about what he had discovered. He told PJ Media that Wheeler tagged along with him because the detective was hoping to get a job with the Trump White House. (A lawyer from Wigdor's law firm denies this.) He said he wanted to clue the White House in on the Seth Rich story because it blew up the phony Russia narrative, but since Spicer wasn't interested in the story, they spent most of their time talking about other things -- including shirts -- because they happened to get their shirts from the same place. He claims that his offer to pay for a private eye for the Riches was done out of a desire to help the grieving parents find the person who murdered their son -- not for political reasons. Butowsky, however, has also made clear that he believes the Seth Rich narrative undercuts the question of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. In a longer version of his taped conversation with Seymour Hersh obtained by NPR, Butowsky says: "The most important thing is this... So many people throughout Trump's four years, maybe eight years, are always going to fall back on the idea that he's not legitimate, and the Russians got him elected. This changes all of that." Butowsky told PJ Media that his only regret in the whole episode was that he taped his telephone conversation with Hersh and released the audio online. PJ Media reached out to the Rich family on Monday for comment on Butowsky's claims but did not get a response. They filed the lawsuit on Tuesday. Leonard A. Gail, a lawyer representing the Riches, said in a statement: “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." In an interview with ABC News, Butowsky called the lawsuit "one of the dumbest" he'd ever seen. “Mr. and Mrs. Rich should come forward and be honest with people,” he said, adding that he's reached out to them repeatedly to tell what he claims to be the truth. “Nobody’s benefited from anything," he added. "To file a lawsuit to say that anybody has benefited just smells weird.” Butowsky told PJ Media that there was no basis at all for what he called a "frivolous lawsuit." "I did not participate in writing, developing the article they are referencing," he said.
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Lobbyist says he was nearly killed by man he hired to investigate Seth Rich’s death

Postby smix » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:30 pm

Lobbyist says he was nearly killed by man he hired to investigate Seth Rich’s death
The Washington Post

URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/pu ... story.html
Category: Crime
Published: March 20, 2018

Description: As conspiracy theories swirled around the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, lobbyist Jack Burkman took the unusual step of launching his own private investigation. A man with military and security experience stepped up to help. Now Burkman alleges that man, Kevin Doherty, nearly killed him. Burkman, a conservative lobbyist who has also raised money for Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign official who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and protested gay athletes in the NFL, is used to controversy. But Doherty’s arrest Saturday by Arlington County police on charges of malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony caps a saga stranger than Burkman’s own conspiracy theories. “It’s a horror story,” Burkman, of Arlington, said in an interview Monday afternoon. He is still recovering after being shot several times and run over by an SUV last Tuesday. Doherty briefly worked for Burkman’s Profiling Project, which was formed to build a psychological portrait of Rich’s likely killer. While police have concluded Rich was likely shot during a random robbery, many conservatives have claimed he was killed as part of a political conspiracy. Burkman offered a six-figure reward for information on the shooting. Burkman said Doherty presented an impressive resume — ex-Marine, ex-special agent — and did good work. But tension quickly developed. In Burkman’s view, Doherty began speaking to reporters out of turn and tried to take over the investigation. Doherty served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1990 to 1994, rising to the rank of sergeant, according to a spokeswoman for Manpower & Reserve Affairs. “He became somewhat angry because he thought the Profiling Project belonged to him,” Burkman said. In July, he cut Doherty loose and sent him a cease and desist letter. “I just figured the matter was closed,” Burkman said. “But what happened is, I guess, he was simmering and simmering and simmering.” In February, Burkman had moved on to a new investigation. He had put out a call for whistleblowers in the FBI, offering $25,000 for any information exposing wrongdoing in the presidential election. Soon, he thought he had hit the jackpot. A man reached out, describing himself as a senior FBI official with information about then-agency deputy director Andrew McCabe, who at the time was under an internal investigation for his handling of probes into Hillary Clinton. (On Friday, McCabe was fired, after an internal investigation found he had dealt improperly with the media and then lied about it. He has denied wrongdoing.) His source dropped off two packets of emails under a cone in a garage at the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn, Burkman said. “I thought I had the story of the decade,” Burkman recalled. His wife, Susan, was more skeptical. She warned him that she didn’t think he was dealing with the FBI. But, he said, the emails “looked super real,” containing details about the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The last drop was supposed to be “the big one” — the full inspector general report on McCabe, which still has not been released. Instead, when Burkman bent over to pull the papers out from under the cone, he was shot in the buttocks and thigh. As he ran out of the garage with his dachshund in his arms, he was hit by an SUV. He said the car backed up to hit him again. “It looked like he was coming to kill me,” Burkman said. But he said a woman watching from a window of the hotel screamed. A guard came running and the SUV sped off, Burkman said. Burkman spent three days in the hospital. His dog, Jack Jr., was uninjured. Police would not comment on Burkman’s account of the incident. But Burkman said authorities told him they tracked down Doherty through the SUV. Burkman said police came to him in the hospital with a photo of his former employee. He didn’t even recognize Doherty at first. When he heard his name, he was shocked. Burkman had already met with police in January, when a masked man approached his house in an SUV and hit him in the face with pepper spray. No charges have been filed in that incident. “We went through a thousand possibilities,” Burkman said. “Kevin was not on the list.” Doherty does not yet have a lawyer in the assault case and is being held without bond, prosecutors said. Girum Tesfaye, who represented Doherty on a drunken driving charge last year, also expressed surprise. “From what I know of him it would definitely be out of character,” Tesfaye said. Burkman said he is now traveling with security. But the experience has not soured him on conspiracy theories. His profiling project concluded that Rich was shot by a hired killer, and he wonders if Doherty was working for someone else.
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Seth Rich's Brother Files Lawsuit Alleging Baseless Claims On DNC Hack

Postby smix » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:09 pm

Seth Rich's Brother Files Lawsuit Alleging Baseless Claims On DNC Hack
NPR

URL: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way ... n-dnc-hack
Category: Politics
Published: March 30, 2018

Description: The murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in the summer of 2016 remains unsolved, still under investigation by police in Washington, D.C. It is the inspiration for round after round of baseless speculation about the cause of his death, linking it to the leak of thousands of Democratic Party emails that year. And those theories are generating yet another lawsuit. This week, Aaron Rich, Seth Rich's brother, sued Dallas financial adviser Ed Butowsky, a pivotal figure in early coverage of the case, along with a conservative conspiracy theorist and the The Washington Times. The suit alleges that the trio promoted groundless accusations about Aaron Rich's involvement in the leaks of those emails to Wikileaks. There is no publicly known factual basis for making those accusations. U.S. intelligence and national security officials under both the Obama and Trump administrations concluded that hackers acting at the behest of the Russian government had illegally hacked the Democratic National Committee emails. Aaron Rich's lawsuit is the third related to politically motivated conspiracy theories about Seth Rich's death filed against Butowsky, a sometime Fox News contributor. The claims about Seth Rich were the core of a Fox News story last May — retracted a week later and the subject of a lawsuit filed by Rich's parents against Fox News filed earlier this year. Butowsky had allegedly been a key figure in orchestrating that story, according to material contained in a lawsuit filed last August against Fox News, Butowsky and a Fox News reporter stemming from that same discredited Fox News story. (Fox News said the story had not been subjected to sufficiently rigorous editing and scrutiny but did not apologize to the Riches.) Aaron Rich's attorneys point to additional public statements from Butowsky and an online conservative activist named Matt Couch (along with Couch's company, America First Media) that they claim strongly imply Aaron Rich engineered the mechanics of getting the Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks and that he accepted money from the shadowy outfit. "Aaron wants to clear his name," Rich's attorney, Michael Gottlieb, told NPR. "The accusation is that he's conspired with a hostile foreign intelligence service to steal documents from an American political organization in exchange for money. ... It's completely and utterly fabricated and baseless." As a candidate, President Trump hailed Wikileaks for publicizing the Democratic emails, which showed dissension within the Democratic Party over Hillary Clinton's primary battle with Bernie Sanders. Trump's CIA chief, Mike Pompeo, has called WikiLeaks a hostile intelligence service. According to the lawsuit, filed this week in federal court in Washington D.C., Aaron Rich holds security clearance for the work he does for a defense contractor. Gottlieb says his client views the accusation of helping WikiLeaks as tantamount to an accusation of treason. In commenting on the lawsuit, Butowsky told NPR he was merely repeating what Rich's parents told him about Aaron Rich during his first call to the couple, back in December 2016. Butowsky claims that Joel Rich said he knew his sons had been involved in downloading those documents for WikiLeaks in exchange for payment — a contention that a spokesman for Aaron Rich's family and his attorneys heatedly deny. On March 18, The Washington Times published an opinion piece by a retired commander in chief of the Pacific fleet, James A. Lyons, titled, "More Cover Up Questions." It linked Seth Rich's death to the leaked emails and cited Butowsky as a source. (Lyons and Butowsky had served together on an unofficial "citizens' commission" on the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, a touchstone for conservative critics of the Obama administration.) Senior executives at The Washington Times did not return NPR's calls seeking comment. The lawsuit documents what it says is coordination between Butowsky and Couch; it presents evidence that Butowsky is seen weighing in during one of Couch's live streaming Periscope video commentaries to say that WikiLeaks payments to Aaron Rich were "confirmed" by his parents. In remarks this week to NPR, Butowsky affirmed the exchange. He told NPR it was the only public online discussion he had with Couch. Butowsky further distanced himself from Couch in speaking to NPR: "I don't really know Matt at all. I have talked to him from time to time," Butowsky said. "But I don't really know what's credible or who's credible." He pointed back to what he alleged are the December 2016 remarks from Aaron Rich's parents (which they reject). Butowsky told NPR that he is currently representing himself in the case because, he said, he considered it ridiculous. In another Periscope streaming video posted after the lawsuit was filed, Matt Couch said he would not be deterred in his search for the truth. Couch cited Butowsky for his claims. Couch has raised money off his theories, asking for donations through PayPal. He claims the donations will help him solve Seth Rich's murder and show the connection between the killing and the WikiLeaks postings. Couch and Butowsky each said they could take advantage of the legal process to gain insight into Aaron Rich's actions. Rich's attorney, Gottlieb, said his client was aware of that — and had nothing to hide.
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These Messages Show Julian Assange Talked About Seeking Hacked Files From Guccifer 2.0

Postby smix » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:04 pm

These Messages Show Julian Assange Talked About Seeking Hacked Files From Guccifer 2.0
BuzzFeed News

URL: https://www.buzzfeed.com/kevincollier/a ... ks-hannity
Category: Politics
Published: April 5, 2018

Description: DMs tie Assange to a Russia-linked hacker — and raise new questions about his Seth Rich conspiracy theory.
Twitter DMs obtained by BuzzFeed News show that in the summer of 2016, WikiLeaks was working to obtain files from Guccifer 2.0, an online hacktivist persona linked to by Russian military intelligence, the clearest evidence to date of WikiLeaks admitting its pursuit of Guccifer 2.0. “[P]lease ‘leave,’ their conversation with them and us,” WikiLeaks asked journalist Emma Best, who was also negotiating with Guccifer 2.0 for access to what it had teased on its blog as “exclusive access” to hacked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee files. “[W]e would appreciate it if you did not dump the docs and obviously archive.org will delete them anyway.” WikiLeaks had mentioned Guccifer 2.0 a single time before, tweeting in June 2016 — five weeks before it released its first dump of Democratic National Committee emails — that the persona had claimed it gave WikiLeaks DNC emails. But by the time of the DM conversation with Best, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had shifted the story of how WikiLeaks acquired those emails, giving repeated TV interviews that floated Seth Rich, a Democratic staffer who had been murdered in what police concluded was a botched robbery, as his real source. The messages between Assange and Best, a freelance national security journalist and online archivist, are the starkest proof yet that Assange knew a likely Russian government hacker had the Democrat leaks he wanted. And they reveal the deliberate bad faith with which Assange fed the groundless claims that Rich was his source, even as he knew the documents’ origin. Best told BuzzFeed News she first reached out to Guccifer 2.0 in August 2016 after it posted on its WordPress account a call for journalists who wanted its files. “I sent them a Direct Message and referred to that, asking what they had in mind,” Best told BuzzFeed News over Signal. Best has experience posting large data sets, and wondered if she could host the files on archive.org, a nonprofit digital library. But Guccifer 2.0 had another idea. “I gonna send a large trove to wikileaks,” it said. Best, who had DMed with WikiLeaks before, relayed that message to WikiLeaks in a direct message on Twitter. Neither party conveyed to her whether they had interacted together before. “I told them that Guccifer 2.0 was considering giving me at least part of the cache, which is when they asked me to be their ‘agent,’ which they said I would get ‘credit’ for,” Best said. She didn’t agree to act as Assange’s agent, she said, but stopped messaging with Guccifer 2.0. WikiLeaks was adamant in its communications with Best that it didn't want anyone else to leak the files. “[T]hese other media groups are very likely to take a stupid initial angle,” WikiLeaks said in one message sent Aug. 12 at 9:14 p.m., adding that other news outlets would focus less on the content of the leaks than how they came to be. “‘We don’t know if its true. Possibly russians who knows blah blah blah.’” WikiLeaks’s pitch worked. “I dropped the matter with both parties and never received or passed on any exclusive G2, DNC, Podesta, etc. documents,” Best said. Less than an hour after WikiLeaks’s last message to Best, Guccifer 2.0 tweeted that it had handed those documents over. Who was in control of the WikiLeaks Twitter account cannot be known with certainty. But Assange is widely considered to be the primary user of the @WikiLeaks Twitter handle, and Best believed her chats with that handle “were with him or his proxy.” Best said she deleted all her direct messages after noticing someone was trying to hack her Twitter account, but recently found the email notifications that users receive when they get a DM on Twitter. A lawyer for WikiLeaks did not respond to a request for comment. The following is the entirety of WikiLeaks’s messages to Best that night, according to the emails she provided. All times are ET. (Twitter does not send a user copies of their own messages, so the contents Best provided are one-sided.)
8:43 p.m.: please “leave” their conversation with them and us

8:43 p.m.: we would appreciate it if you did not dump the docs and obviously archive.org will delete them anyway

9:12 p.m.: Impact is very substantially reduced if the "news" of a release doesn't co-incide with the ability to respond to the news by searching

9:13 p.m.: non-searchable dumps are just channeled into a few orgs with technical resources. then others won't touch them because they perceive that the cherries have all been picked by techdirt or whatever.

9:14 p.m.: and these other media groups are very likely to take a stupid initial angle

9:15 p.m.: “We don’t know if its true. Possibly russians who knows blah blah blah” because they don’t properly verify prior to publication and are scared because they’re not us, contaminating the entire release

9:18 p.m.: in that regretable event, from our perspective, please just act as our agent we can ensure you get the right credit, cross promotion etc.

Before Guccifer 2.0 began speaking with Best, the account had repeatedly claimed to be Assange’s source, though it was a one-sided relationship. On June 15, more than a month before WikiLeaks published its first of two batches of Democratic emails, the persona wrote in an email to the Smoking Gun that it had “thousands of files and mails” that it already “gave to Wikileaks.” When WikiLeaks released its first batch of Democrats’ emails in the 2016 campaign, the “DNC Leaks,” Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be the source. But Assange chose, in television interviews both immediately before and after his conversation with Best, to not publicly bring up Guccifer 2.0, and instead to tease the conspiracy theory that Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer whose murder spawned conspiracy theories, could be the source for his leaks. The Seth Rich conspiracy held, in essence, that Rich, a DNC staffer who supported Bernie Sanders, grew disillusioned with the party after Hillary Clinton won the nomination, stole emails to give to WikiLeaks, and was killed for it. The theory didn't account for how a regular staffer would have had access to Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s email account, which WikiLeaks released in October, or files stored on the DCCC’s server, which Guccifer 2.0 released slowly over the summer on its WordPress account and in emails to reporters. Nor did it account for why the NSA, FBI, and CIA, as well as a number of US and foreign private threat intelligence companies, would each conclude there was sufficient evidence that the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence arm, had indeed hacked those targets. Rich's murder, two weeks after Assange first began leaking the hacked DNC documents, was likely the result of a robbery attempt gone bad, police concluded. But the conspiracy theory was spread quickly by alt-right social media figures and conservative news sites, and lasted far beyond the election, with people like Fox News commentator Sean Hannity talking about it for months after Trump took office. Rich's parents have since sued Fox News over “the pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football.” His brother Aaron has sued two other right-wing commentators who pushed the theory that Aaron aided his brother and illegally helped cover it up. Fox declined to comment on the legal action, but noted it has retracted the story and that Hannity announced in May 2017 that he would stop coverage of the hoax out of respect for Rich's family. Three days before the conversation with Best, Assange brought up Rich unprompted during an appearance via livestream on Netherlands' Nieuwsuur, a nightly public news broadcast: “Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material, at often very significant risks,” he said. “There's a 27-year-old that works for the DNC who was shot in the back, murdered, just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons, as he was walking down the street in Washington,” he said. When host Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal echoed what DC police had concluded, that Rich’s death was a botched robbery, Assange replied, “No, there’s no findings.” That same day, the WikiLeaks Twitter account announced it would offer a reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich's killer. In those interviews, despite privately angling for Guccifer 2.0’s files, Assange continued to push the Seth Rich story. Two weeks after the conversation with Best, Assange appeared on Fox News, and while he didn’t claim Rich was murdered over the leaks, he refused to deny it either, and made no mention of any other source. “If there’s any question about a source of Wikileaks being threatened, people can be assured that this organization will go after anyone who may have been involved in some kind of attempt to coerce or possibly kill a potential source,” Assange said. “I know you don't want to reveal your source, but it certainly sounds like you're suggesting a man who leaked information to WikiLeaks was then murdered,” said host Megyn Kelly. “If there's someone who's potentially connected to our publications and that person is then murdered in suspicious circumstances, it doesn't necessarily mean that the two are connected. But that type of allegation is very serious and it's taken very seriously by us,” Assange replied. Since then, WikiLeaks has tweeted numerous times about the theory, never disputing it. Beyond the June 2016 tweet, Assange made no mention of Guccifer 2.0. As with previous misdirections, hinting that Rich was responsible gave WikiLeaks a means of not implicating the Russian government. WikiLeaks has been caught covering for Russia at least twice before, both in the summer of 2016, when it declined to publish a huge cache of Russian government data, and in its 2012 exclusion, in its published “Syria Files,” of a $2.4 billion transaction from the Central Bank of Syria to the VTB Bank in Russia. In September, it finally published 35 files from a private Russian intelligence company, but most of them were already public and of little news value, leading experts to allege that was a decision to quiet criticism that WikiLeaks was too friendly to Russia. Details about the true identity of Guccifer 2.0 are still coming to light. But in many ways, it was obvious from the start. Guccifer 2.0 first appeared online on June 15, exactly one day after the Washington Post broke the story that the DNC had been hacked and that Russia’s military intelligence agency was behind it. Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be Romanian, but didn’t understand the language. It used a shady Russian VPN service that gave it access to IP addresses that weren’t commercially available. Despite having files from congressional races all over the country, it prioritized leaks of swing states. In a joint report released after the election, in January 2017, the US’s top intelligence agencies announced that “We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks. Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity.” The GRU, the report said, “used the Guccifer 2.0 persona.” Last month, the Daily Beast reported that either Twitter or WordPress noticed at least once that someone logged into the Guccifer 2.0 account without turning on a VPN, revealing an IP address belonging to the GRU in Moscow. The files that Guccifer 2.0 published on its WordPress account would later appear in both of WikiLeaks's major drops during the 2016 election: the DNC Email Archive and the Podesta Emails dumps. In between those releases, on Aug. 12, 2016, it was clear from those messages to Best that the WikiLeaks Twitter account knew that Guccifer 2.0 was the source of hacked Democratic documents. WikiLeaks’s formal policy is to never publicly identify a source of its leaks, and Assange still refers to Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower who has admitted and spent years in prison for giving WikiLeaks Army Intelligence documents, as an “alleged source.” He never mentioned Guccifer 2.0 or any other party as a potential source in those interviews. With the exception of one final post, in which it shot back at the joint US intelligence report that detailed the Russian hacking campaign, Guccifer 2.0 went silent after Trump was elected.
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Buzzfeed Publishes Insane WikiLeaks-Guccifer Conspiracy Theory, Inadvertently Proves the Opposite

Postby smix » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:38 pm

Buzzfeed Publishes Insane WikiLeaks-Guccifer Conspiracy Theory, Inadvertently Proves the Opposite
The Gateway Pundit

URL: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/04 ... -opposite/
Category: Politics
Published: April 5, 2018

Description: Buzzfeed is continuing to push the bizarre conspiracy theory that Guccifer 2.0 was behind WikiLeaks’ email leak from the Democratic National Committee — but instead they just proved, yet again, that the shadowy figure was not the original source. The author was reporting on alleged leaked direct messages between an activist named Emma Best, who had been angling for Guccifer 2.0 to provide her with leaked documents, and someone using the WikiLeaks Twitter account. “I gonna send a large trove to wikileaks,” Guccifer 2.0 allegedly told Best in August, 2016. Best then messaged WikiLeaks and conveyed what the anonymous account had told her. “I told them that Guccifer 2.0 was considering giving me at least part of the cache, which is when they asked me to be their ‘agent,’ which they said I would get ‘credit’ for,” Best claimed to BuzzFeed. She said that at this point she stopped messaging Guccifer 2.0 and she did not act as an intermediary.
1. if these DMs published by @kevincollier are genuine, they are the best evidence that there was NO dark conspiracy with #Russia: @wikileaks was trying to get important docs from alleged #Guccifer as other journalists were doing the same
— stefania maurizi (@SMaurizi) April 5, 2018

If WikiLeaks had already received documents from Guccifer, why would they have needed a go-between for new ones? WikiLeaks had already published the bulk of their leak on July 22. On August 12, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 also tweeted that they would be sending a large trove of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee documents to WikiLeaks. Again, this is nearly a month after the initial DNC leaks were published by WikiLeaks. They never published anything from the DCCC.
#Guccifer2 I'll send the major trove of the #DCCC materials and emails to #wikileaks
keep following…
— GUCCIFER 2.0 (@GUCCIFER_2) August 13, 2016

Documents shared by Guccifer 2.0 appeared to have Russian fingerprints deliberately placed on them, according to experts, but the establishment who seeks to discredit WikiLeaks have ran with the story claiming that that the “hacker” was a Russian military officer and behind all of it. Last year, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) — a 30 member group made up of well respected former experts from the National Security Administration, tech companies, and other intelligence agencies, released a letter detailing their analysis of what the Guccifer 2.0 account was all about. The report from VIPS states that “forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer. After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device.” Additionally, the former intelligence operatives detail how the FBI neglected to perform any independent forensics on the original “Guccifer 2.0,” and assert that “the reason the U.S. government lacks conclusive evidence of a transfer of a ‘Russian hack’ to WikiLeaks is because there was no such transfer.” Among those who signed on to the report is William Binney, former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, Larry C Johnson, who is retired from the CIA & State Department, Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst at SIGINT Automation Research Center of the NSA, and many more. “There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial ‘hack,’ as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer,” Patrick Lawrence wrote for the Nation. Lawrence went on to detail the findings in a report by a cyber expert who goes by the moniker “the Forensicator.” The analyst found that the transfer took place at speeds of 23 MB/s, which means that a remote data transfer over the internet would be extremely unlikely. Instead, the report states that a more likely scenario would be “that the individual who was collecting the data either had physical access to the computer where the data was stored, or the data was copied over a local high speed network (LAN).” “This initial copying activity was done on a system where Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) settings were in force. Most likely, the computer used to initially copy the data was located somewhere on the East Coast,” Forensicator reported. In their conclusion, they asserted that they believe the files were obtained by plugging a USB drive directly into a DNC computer. Buried at the end of his lengthy conspiracy theory in BuzzFeed, Kevin Collier admitted that “files that Guccifer 2.0 published on its WordPress account don’t appear in Assange’s first release in 2016 of hacked Democratic files, which WikiLeaks calls the DNC Email Archive on its website.” He also acknowledged that the conversation between Best and WikiLeaks occured after DNC emails had already been published by WikiLeaks.
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Exclusive – Rohrabacher: I Would Have ‘Physical Proof’ Russia Is Not Assange’s Source of DNC Emails if Not for Mueller

Postby smix » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:32 pm

Exclusive – Rohrabacher: I Would Have ‘Physical Proof’ Russia Is Not Assange’s Source of DNC Emails if Not for Mueller
Breitbart News

URL: http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2018/04/ ... t-mueller/
Category: Politics
Published: April 19, 2018

Description: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) joined SiriusXM hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak on Monday’s Breitbart News Tonight, saying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was previously prepared to provide him with “physical proof” that WikiLeaks’ source for Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails was not the Russian government. Rohrabacher described the “Russia collusion” narrative as “total baloney.” He said, “By now, everybody knows that this idea that Trump was colluding with the Russians in order to get them to do things like steal the DNC emails and then release them through WikiLeaks, the public knows that’s just total baloney [and] an excuse. In fact, all they’re doing is trying to cover up the fact that they themselves are undermining our Constitution by preventing our president from assuming his authority that was given to him by the voters.”



Rohrabacher spoke of his meeting with Assange in August 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, U.K. He stated, “I knew the one man who could prove that it was all baloney was Assange. So I went to see him in London, and he confirmed for me that the Russians did not give him the DNC emails. He had physical proof of that, and he was going to let me see that and have that, but only once, I found an agreement so he wouldn’t get arrested when he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Unfortunately, this was in the middle of having a special prosecutor, [and] any discussion with Trump and myself that mentions Russia will be used as an excuse by that special prosecutor to just quadruple all the areas of investigation into me and into Trump. So it is standing there. I’ve been waiting because I know that we’re not going to give this special prosecutor any more ammunition than he needs to try to destroy this president.” Rohrabacher rejected news media characterizations of him as a de facto fifth columnist Kremlin agent. He called for cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in combating Islamic terrorism. He remarked, “I spent my whole life fighting communism, but we won the Cold War, and the Soviet Union has collapsed, and I think now when we have radical Islam as our main enemy, we should be cooperating with Russia in order to defeat that enemy. That has been portrayed to people as if I am some sort of pro-communist or something, when, in fact, it just makes sense for us to try to find ways of cooperating to defeat this horrible enemy that threatens all of Western Civilization.” Rohrabacher added, “The news media has story after story as if I’m Putin’s favorite congressman. Give me a break. On top of it, I am the chairman of the subcommittee on foreign affairs that has the jurisdiction of overseeing our relations with Russia. I have actually had meetings [with Russians], and that’s being portrayed to everybody as if I’m colluding with them to hurt the United States. My constituents understand who I am, and they’re not buying into that.”
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Wigdor Seeks to Withdraw From Defamation Suit Against Fox News

Postby smix » Wed May 16, 2018 5:11 pm

Wigdor Seeks to Withdraw From Defamation Suit Against Fox News
New York Law Journal

URL: https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2 ... -fox-news/
Category: Legal
Published: May 15, 2018

Description: In a brief filed Monday, the firm said irreconcilable differences with its client, former Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler, had emerged.

Rod-Wheeler-Fox-News.jpg

The attorneys representing former Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler in his defamation suit against the media company have asked U.S. District Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York to let them withdraw as counsel, according to court filings. Wigdor LLP name attorney Douglas Wigdor and his team cited “irreconcilable differences” with their client, who
has alleged a story that appeared on Fox News’ website improperly attached his name to quotes in a story about former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. The story, which Fox later retracted, went on to spur conspiracy theories about Rich’s connection to internal DNC emails that were published by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign. “[A]n irrevocable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship exists with respect to Wigdor LLP and Mr. Wheeler. Such circumstances are sufficient to warrant withdrawal,” the memorandum of law filed by Wigdor on Monday stated. The memo state that, if Daniels required, Wigdor was prepared to provide the court in camera, ex parte information that laid out the reasons that warranted the withdrawal. Wigdor declined a request to comment or for more information about what precipitated the requested split. The motion comes at a critical juncture for the suit. Already Wheeler has dropped some of the initial claims of racial discrimination. Daniels currently has a number of motions from the defense before him, including a motion to dismiss and to compel arbitration in the matter. The amended complaint, filed in October, alleged that Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and financial adviser Ed Butowsky, a regular guest on the cable network, defamed and libeled Wheeler when they worked together to attribute quotes to Wheeler that alluded to efforts to keep information about Rich’s connections to WikiLeaks from becoming public. “My investigation shows someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward,” the story quotes Wheeler, who said he was recruited by Butowsky and Zimmerman to investigate Rich’s death, as saying. Rich was murdered in the early morning of July 10, 2016, while walking to his Washington, D.C., home. So far, no suspect has been apprehended in the murder, which police have reportedly characterized as a botched robbery attempt. Members of Rich’s family have also filed suit against the same defendants, claiming intentional inflection of emotional distress.
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Dallas Investor Sues NPR for $57M Over Seth Rich Coverage

Postby smix » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:58 pm

Dallas Investor Sues NPR for $57M Over Seth Rich Coverage
Courthouse News Service

URL: https://www.courthousenews.com/dallas-i ... -coverage/
Category: Legal
Published: June 22, 2018

Description: (CN) – A Dallas investor accused of helping to advance conspiracy theories about the death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich is asking for $57 million in damages in a defamation lawsuit against NPR and one of its reporters. Ed Butowksy, a frequent Fox News guest who hired a private investigator to look into the murder of Seth Rich, filed a complaint Thursday in Sherman, Texas, federal court against National Public Radio reporter David Folkenflik for publishing allegedly defamatory statements about him. Rod Wheeler, a private investigator and former homicide detective who was also a Fox News contributor, was quoted in a now-retracted Fox News story alleging that Rich’s death was somehow connected to the leak of DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Police in Washington, D.C., where Rich was shot to death in July 2016, have maintained that the murder was a robbery gone wrong. Wheeler accused Fox News of making up his quotes, in collusion with President Donald Trump, in an attempt to deflect attention from news about the Russia probe. Wheeler sued the network – and Butowsky – in August 2017. Butowsky, represented in Thursday’s lawsuit by Brooklyn attorney Ty Clevenger, takes issue with several of Folkenflik’s NPR stories that discuss his involvement in the Fox News story, including one headlined “The Man Behind the Scenes in Fox News’ Discredited Seth Rich Story.” This report quotes Wheeler’s lawsuit, which claimed that Butowsky used the investigator “as a pawn” and worked behind the scenes to help Fox News put the Rich story together. Butowsky now claims that Folkenflik pushed a “false narrative” that Fox’s story was “baseless.” The suit also alleges the NPR reporter conspired with Wheeler’s attorney David Wigdor in an effort to extort money from Fox. Butowsky claims Folkenflik failed to verify the information in Wheeler’s lawsuit before publishing his story about it. “This is a case about an unethical and reckless journalist, who was spoon-fed a false narrative about President Trump and Fox News with instructions to leak the fake story online and in social media in the early morning hours of August 1, 2017,” the complaint states. Butowsky also says in his lawsuit that Folkenflik “had no evidence of any connection between Butowsky and the president because there was no connection.” Butowsky alleges that in a 10 to 15-minute meeting he had with Wheeler and then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer before the publication of the Fox News story, “most of the time was spent talking about shirts.” “Butowsky and Spicer bought their shirts from the same source: Jacomo Hakim’s Booktailer,” the lawsuit states. “At the meeting, Butowsky and Wheeler … told Spicer that they were working on a story about Seth Rich and wanted Spicer to be aware of it – that was it.” “The president of the United States was not at the meeting and Spicer did not inform the president about the meeting,” the filing continues. Butowsky claims Folkenflik’s reporting caused him “enormous loss of business” and “substantial personal injury, fear, and mental and physical pain and suffering.” He seeks $57 million plus punitive damages for claims of defamation, business disparagement, conspiracy and infliction of emotional distress. Folkenflik defended his work in a statement given to Courthouse News on Friday. “I’m proud of the journalism that we do at NPR and of my coverage, generally, and on this story,” Folkenflik said. “I stand by my reporting.” An NPR spokesperson said the network supports Folkenflik. “NPR stands behind David Folkenflik’s reporting,” Media Relations Director Isabel Lara said. “Millions of Americans trust NPR to provide accurate information about the world and their communities every day; we take this responsibility very seriously.” In an interview with Courthouse News on Friday, Butowsky said that he was shocked when Folkenflik told him about Wheeler’s lawsuit, which alleged that he had been asked by the president to divert attention from alleged collusion with the Russian government. Folkenflik asked Butowsky to comment on his relationship with the president, and with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I said, ‘you’re kidding me,’” Butowsky said. “There’s no truth to that. I’ve never met the president, never met Vladimir Putin. Nobody reached out to me.” “[Folkenflik] had an agenda and he was going with it,” Bukowsky said. “He basically tossed away any journalism rules that are supposed to be followed. In article after article and radio appearances, he went after me and defamed me. And that’s what my case is about.” He said that he still believes the retracted Fox News story was accurate. “That story that Malia Zimmerman wrote, from what I know, is 100 percent correct,” Butowsky said. “People should go back, read it, realize that there hasn’t been one development that shows that story not to be correct.” Butowsky said that he has 20 more suits he plans to file against other media outlets and some individuals. Butowsky has been named as the defendant in several lawsuits relating to the Rich story, in addition to Wheeler’s suit. In March, Rich’s parents sued Fox and Butowsky for allegedly cooking up the conspiracy theory about the cause of their son’s death to further their own political agendas. Rich’s brother Aaron also named Butowsky as a defendant in a separate defamation suit. Aaron Rich claims that Butowsky, along with America First Media and the Washington Examiner, defamed him by claiming that he was involved in his brother’s death. Aaron Rich’s lawsuit says the defendants falsely claimed to have proof that he “engaged in deceit and obstruction to cover his tracks after Seth was murdered.” In May, Butowsky was sued again for defamation by Brad Bauman, former spokesman for the Rich family. One of Butowsky’s attorneys, Steven Biss, said in a statement that Folkenflik and Wheeler’s attorney, Wigdor, are friends. “Folkenflik allowed himself to be used as a firecracker to ignite the false narrative and poison the media, most of whom simply repeated the fake news like lemmings,” Biss said. “Folkenflik and Wigdor’s actions exemplify the universally condemned practice of using the press as a weapon. What they did to Ed Butowsky was grossly improper.”
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