The brother of a murdered Democratic staffer who was the focus of pro-Trump conspiracy theories has settled a lawsuit against a wealthy conservative who pushed the smears. On Tuesday, lawyers for Aaron Rich, the brother of murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, announced in court papers that Rich had settled his lawsuit against wealth manager Ed Butowsky for undisclosed terms.
Butowsky worked with reporters for Fox News on a retracted 2017 story that alleged Seth Rich, who was murdered in an unsolved killing in 2016, was somehow involved with leaking Democratic emails to WikiLeaks. Trump supporters seized on that conspiracy theory, alleging that Hillary Clinton had murdered Rich for stealing emails—a claim that would absolve Russian hackers of their actual role in the email theft. Butowsky claimed that Aaron Rich was involved in the email theft, the focus of the lawsuit.
On Jan. 14, Butowsky issued an apology to the Rich family, admitting he never had “physical proof” of his allegations.
“I take full responsibility for my comments and I apologize for any pain I have caused,” Butowsky wrote. “I sincerely hope the Rich family is able to find out who murdered their son and bring this tragic chapter in their lives to a close.”
The settlement appears to mark the end of litigation over Rich conspiracy theories. Fox News settled a separate lawsuit with Rich’s parents in November, saving Fox stars like Sean Hannity from testifying under oath about the case. Aaron Rich settled with Butowsky’s co-defendant, conspiracy theorist Matt Couch, in January.