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