Douglas Wigdor, who represents former homicide detective Rod Wheeler, says that he intends to depose Trump and Spicer. "We're going to litigate this case as we would any other," Wigdor said. "We'll want to depose anyone who has information."
Wheeler had appeared on Fox News many times as a crime analyst, and an article about the Rich murder published on the Fox News website and discussed on-air contained two quotes from Wheeler: "'My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and Wikileaks," and "'My investigation shows someone within the DC government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward. That is unfortunate. Seth Rich's murder is unsolved as a result of that."
Wheeler denies ever making either of these comments, and claims that Fox News fabricated them. This caused severe harm to his reputation and credibility, according to the lawsuit. It goes on to allege that "Fox News was working with the Trump administration to disseminate fake news in order to distract the public from Russia's alleged attempts to influence our Country's presidential election."
White House officials as high up as the president participated in the conspiracy, according to Wheeler, who claims to have received text messages from Fox News finance contributor Ed Butowsky (who funded Wheeler's investigation into Rich's murder) stating that Trump personally wanted the story rushed to publication.
The suit also claims that Butowsky and Malia Zimmerman, another Fox News contributor and the one who read the allegedly fake Wheeler quotes aloud on air, met with Spicer in April to discuss the Rich story.
"The accusation that FoxNews.com published Malia Zimmerman's story to help detract from coverage of the Russia collusion issue is completely erroneous," said Fox News President Jay Wallace in a statement. "The retraction of this story is still being investigated internally and we have no evidence that Rod Wheeler was misquoted by Zimmerman."
"I never talked to anybody at the White House," Butowsky said in a Tuesday evening interview with CNN. "I've never talked to President Trump in my life. And President Trump nor the White house has anything to do with any of this." He added that Wheeler's lawsuit is "full of nonsense" and was filed because the former detective is "dead broke".
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has similarly denied that Trump had any prior knowledge or involvement in Fox News" Seth Rich story. However, Spicer has admitted to the April meeting, where he was briefed about the story. He expressed ignorance as to whether or not the president had any knowledge of it.