Fox News required its settlement with the family of killed DNC staffer Seth Rich remain undisclosed until after the 2020 election

  • In settling a lawsuit with the parents of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer murdered in 2016, Fox News stipulated the settlement remain private until after the 2020 election, The New York Times reported. 
  • The multi-million dollar settlement was announced at the end of November, more than a month after it was reached on October 12, according to the report.
  • Seth Rich was shot and killed in July 2016 in Washington, DC, and his death prompted numerous, baseless conspiracy right-wing conspiracy theories related to Wikileaks publishing of internal DNC emails.
  • His parents, Mary and Joel Rich, sued Fox News two years ago for emotional distress.
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Fox News stipulated its multi-million dollar settlement with the family of murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich remain undisclosed to the public until the November 3 election had passed, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The Sunday report came from Ben Smith, The New York Times' media columnist. 

As The New York Times reported, the October 2020 settlement came not long before Fox News personalities Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs were set to testify under oath in the case. Rich's family agreed to the terms of the settlement, according to the report, including that it not be made public until after the election.

On Monday, a Fox News spokesperson declined to answer any of Insider's questions regarding The New York Times' reporting. The cable news network and its lawyer similarly declined to comment to The New York Times for its report.

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Rich was shot in killed in July 2016 in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC. The 27-year-old's death spawned a number of right-wing conspiracy theories, including that he had provided emails from the DNC to WikiLeaks as part of a 2016 leak. Those who propagated the unfounded theory, including Fox News on-air talent, speculated Rich's death was somehow part of a cover-up.

According to The New York Times, the settlement from Fox News to Rich's family was so extensive that it did not require the network to publicly apologize for a since-retracted May 2017 report on the network's website that aired the theory that Rich had been involved in the DNC email leak.

There is no evidence to support the theory, and DC police previously said Rich's death was likely part of a robbery gone wrong in a neighborhood that had experienced multiple armed robberies at the time, according to a previous Insider report by Jacob Shamsian.

The conspiracy theory helped President Donald Trump's allies to distract from the fact that Russia was responsible for hacking the DNC, Insider's David Choi previously reported.

News of the settlement between Rich's parents, Joel and Mary Rich, and Fox News was made public in late November last year, over a month after the October 12 settlement was reached. As Insider reported at the time, the settlement brought to an end a two-year legal battle that began when Joel and Mary Rich sued the cable news network for emotional distress.

"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," Joel and Mary Rich said in a statement in November 2020.

"It allows us to move on from the litigation we initiated in response to Fox News' May 2017 article and televised statements concerning Seth's murder. We are pleased with the settlement of this matter and sincerely hope that the media will take genuine caution in the future."

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