Man worked with Fox News, White House on “fake news”

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Juli­eta Chiquillo

DAL­LAS» A fed­eral law­suit ac­cuses a Dal­las-area fi­nan­cial ad­viser of or­ches­trat­ing a “fake news” story with Fox News and the Trump White House to dis­tract the pub­lic from the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The law­suit, filed Tues­day, tar­gets Ed Bu­towsky, a man­ag­ing part­ner at Chap­wood In­vest­ments LLC in Ad­di­son, Texas, and an out­spo­ken sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. A pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor al­leges that Bu­towsky pressed him to but­tress a false story by Fox News that blamed the 2016 leak of Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee emails on a for­mer cam­paign op­er­a­tive, even though the U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity has con­cluded that Rus­sians were re­spon­si­ble.

Ac­cord­ing to the law­suit, Bu­towsky told the in­ves­ti­ga­tor that Trump had seen a draft of the Fox News story and wanted it to run “im­me­di­ately.”

“It’s now all up to you,” Bu­towsky al­legedly texted the in­ves­ti­ga­tor. “But don’t feel the pres­sure.”

This year Bu­towsky hired Rod Wheeler, a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to look into the June 2016 slay­ing of Seth Rich, a Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee em­ployee who was gunned down near his Wash­ing­ton home.

Bu­towsky has told The Dal­las Morn­ing News and other out­lets that his in­ten­tion was to help Rich’s par­ents find clo­sure. But Wheeler told a court that Bu­towsky had an agenda from the start — to help Trump by dis­tract­ing the pub­lic from an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his cam­paign’s pos­si­ble col­lu­sion with Rus­sia.

Wheeler ar­gues in the law­suit that Bu­towsky was work­ing with Fox News in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter Malia Zim­mer­man to prove that Rich had re­leased a trove of in­ter­nal DNC emails to anti-se­crecy group Wik­iLeaks be­fore he died. The leak em­bar­rassed the Hil­lary Clin­ton camp at the height of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

“Bu­towsky and Zim­mer­man hoped that, if they could con­firm that Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to Wik­iLeaks, that would de­bunk re­ports the Rus­sians were re­spon­si­ble for the DNC hacks,” ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. “In turn, Bu­towsky and Zim­mer­man hoped that, if they could shift the blame for the DNC hacks from the Rus­sians to Seth Rich, this would un­der­mine re­ports of col­lu­sion be­tween Rus­sia and the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

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