Defamation lawsuit filed against CNN, New York Times and lawyers for Seth Rich family

by Ty Clevenger

A federal lawsuit filed this morning accuses CNN, The New York Times, and Fox of smearing Texas financial advisor Ed Butowsky with false claims about his role in investigating the murder of Democratic National Employee Seth Rich.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Sherman Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, also accuses lawyers in New York and Chicago of maliciously prosecuting a bogus lawsuit on behalf of Seth Rich’s parents, Joel and Mary Rich.

A lawsuit accuses Ed Butowsky, a Fox News reporter and the network of concocting a story about Seth Rich’s death in an effort to help President Trump.

Full disclosure: I’m one of Ed’s attorneys, and I filed the lawsuit on his behalf. I don’t have a lot of time to blog about the case, but I tried to write the lawsuit in plain English (see Paragraphs 1-7 and 33-84), and you can read it by clicking here.

Butowsky is at the center of a controversy surrounding alleged ties between Seth Rich and Julian Assange. Shortly after Rich’s death in July 2016, Ed Butowsky was contacted by an old friend (who also is a nationally known media personality) who said that Julian Assange had a message for the parents of Seth Rich. Butowsky says that he was asked to tell Seth’s parents that Seth had played a role providing the DNC emails to Assange. According to Butowsky, he waited a couple of months before contacting the Rich family. When he passed on the message Seth’s father said, “We already know that, we want to know who killed our son.” Butowsky subsequently decided to take unilateral action and hired private investigator Rod Wheeler to investigate the murder of Seth Rich in February 2017. Wheeler later sued Fox News and alleged in the suit that Butowsky and Fox News fabricated the story of the deceased DNC employee to deflect public attention from the possible Russian government’s involvement in the DNC hack.[ However, Wheeler dropped the suit. A suit brought by the parents of Seth Rich against Fox and Butowsky also was dismissed.

DPS IS STILL HIDING THE BALL

Sometimes when you request records from the government, you can tell a lot by what they refuse to give you. In the eight days between February 20 and February 28, 2019, the Texas Department of Public Safety denied three of my public information requests.

In the letter dated February 20, 2019, DPS refused to release the retirement letter that deputy inspector general Louis Sanchez sent to the Public Safety Commission, i.e., the commission that oversees DPS. I’m told Mr. Sanchez referenced a complaint against Inspector General Rhonda Fleming, alleging (among other things) that Ms. Fleming discriminated against her ex-girlfriend by blocking the ex-girlfriend’s promotion to captain. As my readers know from previous blog posts, I have a pretty low opinion of the Office of Inspector General (a.k.a. the “Office of Damage Control“) under Ms. Fleming’s leadership.

In the February 27, 2019 letter, DPS refused to release records about illegal immigrants allegedly working in the Capitol Grille inside the Texas Capitol Building. My DPS sources tell me the restaurant reported a theft, and the agent assigned to investigate soon discovered multiple immigrants working without identification. That might not be such a big deal but for the fact that DPS gets millions from the legislature to patrol the Mexican border, and yet it cannot keep illegal immigrants (without ID) from entering a secured building, i.e., the capitol building. I’m told top officials in DPS are trying to keep the incident quiet.

Finally, in a February 28, 2019 letter, DPS refused to release records about surge patrols in major Texas cities. A source told me that DPS has been diverting funds that the legislature appropriated for the border to other activities, and I suspect the funds may be going to the inner city patrols. Just like the border program, troopers from other parts of the state are paid overtime and housed in local hotels while they patrol high-crime areas of major cities like Fort Worth and San Antonio. That represents a huge change in the mission of DPS, and you’d think legislators might want to know about it (particularly if border funds are being diverted).

In a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton dated March 7, 2019, DPS argued that releasing any information at all might jeopardize the safety of troopers assigned to the urban patrols. It also argued that releasing the information might undermine its anti-terrorism efforts. Seriously? DPS can tell us exactly how many troopers it is sending to the border, and exactly how many millions it is spending to send them, and that doesn’t jeopardize officer safety or undermine anti-terrorism efforts. But if DPS tells us how many troopers are patrolling Fort Worth and San Antonio, well, that could put officers in danger and give terrorists the upper hand. What a joke.

OTHER NEWS

On March 7, 2019, the San Antonio Express-News ran a story about Darren Lubbe’s lawsuit against DPS, and specifically about misconduct and corruption in the Texas Rangers. The Express-News independently corroborated much of what we alleged in Darren’s lawsuit (see November 27, 2018 post).

On February 28, 2019, KXAN (Austin) ran a story about Billy Spears’s lawsuit against DPS, and particularly about allegations that Senator John Whitmire may have interfered in an internal DPS investigation in order to protect a state trooper girlfriend.