Texas investor Ed Butowsky is suing NPR and its media correspondent for $57 million.
The lawsuit alleges that NPR coverage identified him as the source of a conspiracy theory behind a high-profile murder.
NPR’s David Folkenflik interviewed Butowsky last August for a story about media coverage of the unsolved July 2016 murder of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer. Fox News reported in May 2017 that Rich’s killing was linked to emails from DNC officials that had been leaked to WikiLeaks. But the news outlet later retracted that coverage.
“Butowsky had hovered behind the scenes of the story — an unnamed ‘third party,’ as he was described by Fox’s Sean Hannity … ,” Folkenflik said in his report, which included details from his 2-1/2 hour interview with Butowsky.
Butowsky’s lawsuit, seeking $57 million in compensatory and punitive damages, was filed June 21 in U.S. District Court in Texas.
“This is a case about an unethical and reckless journalist, who was spoon-fed a false narrative about President Trump and Fox News with instructions to leak the fake story online and in social media in the early morning hours of August 1, 2017,” the lawsuit contends.
NPR spokesperson Isabel Lara told Current in a statement that NPR “stands behind David Folkenflik’s reporting. Millions of Americans trust NPR to provide accurate information about the world and their communities every day; we take this responsibility very seriously.”
“I’m proud of the journalism that we do at NPR,” Folkenflik said in a statement, “and of my coverage, generally, and on this story. I stand by my reporting.”
Read the lawsuit: