The Washington Times has issued a retraction of an op-ed which was published on March 1 about murdered DNC staffer, Seth Rich, stating the newspaper now believes statements included in it to be false. The retraction also included an apology to the Rich family.
The Wall Street Journal reports the retraction and apology are the result of a lawsuit filed by Seth Rich’s brother, Aaron Rich, after the column was published.
The op-ed, written by James Lyons, a retired US Navy admiral, and entitled, “More cover-up questions: The curious murder of Seth Rich poses questions that just won’t stay under the official rug” stated that Seth and Aaron Rich “downloaded the DNC emails” and that was “well known in intelligence circles” that the two were paid by WikiLeaks.
The retraction from the conservative newspaper states, “The Washington Times now does not have any basis to believe any part of that statement to be true, and The Washington Times retracts it in its entirety.”
In addition, The Washington Times apologized for and retracts the statement in the op-ed which suggested that Aaron Rich was not cooperating with law enforcement and impeding the investigation, stating that they disavow any implication that Mr. Rich has obstructed justice.
In the lawsuit, Aaron Rich accused Matt Couch, who runs a company called America First Media and Ed Butowsky, a Fox News guest, of spreading false information. He argued that they were motivated by “a desire to discredit allegations that the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russian Government in the 2016 hack of the DNC and the subsequent dissemination of DNC documents on WikiLeaks.” James Lyons was not named in the lawsuit. The Guardian reports that Aaron Rich accused The Washington Times of “a reckless disregard for the truth”.
After Seth Rich’s death in July 2016, right wing publications like Breitbart and personalities like Fox News’ Sean Hannity speculated without any evidence that his murder was actually in retaliation for leaking information from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Police say that Rich was shot and killed in a botched robbery and US Intelligence Agencies have concluded that Russian military intelligence officers hacked the DNC website and leaked the emails to the public.
The lawsuit that Seth Rich’s parent’s filed against Fox News for a baseless story they published was dismissed for lacking the necessary detail to go to trial. Fox News removed the article a week after publishing it, saying it had not been subjected to FNC’s “high degree of editorial scrutiny”.
The Washington Times column has been removed from the newspaper’s online content as have all references to it. Mr. Rich has agreed to drop his lawsuit and accepts the newspaper’s apology.