Fox News host Sean Hannity and Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs are set to be deposed next month as part of a lawsuit filed by the parents of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer whose July 2016 murder in Washington, D.C., became fodder for conservative conspiracy theorists, The Daily Beast reports.
The deposition schedule was revealed in a Thursday court filing made by the Rich family, The Daily Beast says, and shows that Dobbs is scheduled to be deposed on Oct. 7, followed by Hannity on Oct. 30. The filing also states that Fox News attorneys said they "would refuse" to allow the deposition of host Laura Ingraham. She has accused the media of having an "aggressive lack of curiosity" about Rich's murder.
Police say Rich was killed during a botched robbery, but conspiracy theorists have tried to connect his death to the leaking of internal Democratic National Committee emails to WikiLeaks. This theory was parroted by conservative pundits, but debunked by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In May 2017, the Fox News website published a story by reporter Malia Zimmerman, which claimed the FBI found evidence on Rich's computer that tied him to WikiLeaks. On his Fox News show, Hannity called this potentially "one of the biggest scandals in American history." The story was retracted by the network later that month, claiming it didn't meet reporting standards, but Hannity continued to bolster it, saying on his radio show, "I retracted nothing."
In 2018, Rich's parents, Joel and Mary Rich, filed an emotional distress lawsuit against Fox News, Zimmerman, and former Fox guest Ed Butowsky, who paid a private investigator to look into Rich's murder. Butowsky was regularly in contact with Zimmerman before her story was published, and the lawsuit focuses on the interactions between Butowsky and Fox staffers, The Daily Beast reports. The Rich family's legal team and Fox News did not respond to The Daily Beast's requests for comments.