"Zimmerman and Butowsky, it is claimed, sought to advance the political agenda of the Trump administration by asking Wheeler to confirm that "Rich was responsible for the leak of DNC emails to WikiLeaks", and "[he] was murdered by a Democrat operative because he leaked the emails to WikiLeaks".
This theory, in turn, would help dispel speculation that the Trump campaign was aided by the Russian government and possibly colluded with the latter - a matter now under investigation by independent counsel Robert Mueller. Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says that he was briefed on the Fox News story during an April meeting with Butowsky and Wheeler.
The voicemail that I left for him about the full attention of the White House, that had to do with Joey Della-Camera, the DC detective and the D.C. detective wanted to come out and talk because he has a lot of information.
The investigator, Rod Wheeler, filed a 33-page defamation lawsuit against the news network on Tuesday.
The president had no knowledge of the story and it's completely untrue that he or the white house had any involvement in this story. Wheeler's lawsuit, however, states that Bukowski, the third party, sent Wheeler five text messages and one voice mail in the three day period ending on the Hannity interview.
Butowsky told NPR that he was "joking" about Trump reviewing the article.
If there is evidence that they did collude with Trump to distract from the Russian Federation investigation, it will damage the network beyond fix with non-Trump fan former casual viewer that made Fox number one in the cable news ratings for more than a decade.
Rich, 27, was shot to death July 10, 2016 in what Washington police say was a random robbery attempt. "But don't feel the pressure", Butowsky wrote in a text message to Wheeler, according to the filing.
The two would also go at it over whether or not Butowsky was even a Trump supporter, as Butowsky said that he never donated money to the president and preferring to label himself a Republican. It outraged the family and was retracted by Fox News.
Wheeler said he provided some quotes to Fox based on what Butowsky and Zimmerman had told him.
Butowsky told CNN that Spicer "had no interest at all" in learning more about their investigation into Rich's death and that they only talked about it for a minute before engaging in small talk. "And President Trump nor the White house has anything to do with any of this".
As this is all happening, Wheeler and Butowsky meet with Sean Spicer at the White House to go over Butowsky's claims. Butowsky said this was "tongue-in-cheek".
"Very shortly after the article was published, Mr. Wheeler called Butowsky and demanded an explanation for the false statements about him in Zimmerman's article", says the wide-ranging damages seeking and jury demanding complaint by lawyer Douglas Wigdor for Rod Wheeler (read it here).