Ed Butowsky: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Facebook Ed Butowsky.

Ed Butowsky is a Dallas wealth manager with ties to Breitbart and White House adviser Steve Bannon who is accused in a federal lawsuit of being behind a now retracted Fox News story in the murder of DNC analyst Seth Rich.

The lawsuit, filed by private investigator Rod Wheeler on August 1 in New York, alleges that President Donald Trump and former presidential Press Secretary Sean Spicer were involved with Butowsky, a Trump supporter, in pushing the now discredited Fox News story on Rich and WikiLeaks that was later retracted by the network. The suit filed by Wheeler further alleges that a Fox News reporter fabricated quotes as part of a plot to divert attention from Russian hacking claims of the DNC.

In a statement, Fox President of News, Jay Wallace, said, “The accusation that FoxNews.com published Malia Zimmerman’s story to help detract from coverage of the Russia collusion issue is completely erroneous. The retraction of this story is still being investigated internally and we have no evidence that Rod Wheeler was misquoted by Zimmerman. Additionally, FOX News vehemently denies the race discrimination claims in the lawsuit – the dispute between Zimmerman and Rod Wheeler has nothing to do with race.” The reporter in question, Malia Zimmerman, has a colorful past in Hawaiian political journalism. You can read more about her here.

You can read the lawsuit in full below. Rich was a data analyst for the Democratic National Committee who was shot to death in 2016 on a Washington D.C. street in a murder that remains unsolved. The case has spawned conspiracy theories that have been hotly criticized by a spokesman for Rich’s family. Rich’s family, in a statement on August 1, said they hope the lawsuit brings an end to the conspiracy theories surrounding Rich’s death.

Butowsky told CNN that the allegations are “bullsh**t.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in an August 1 press briefing, denied the allegations about Trump in the lawsuit. “He had no knowledge of this story and it’s completely untrue that there was White House involvement in this story,” Sanders said. “Beyond that, this is ongoing litigation and I’d refer you to the actual parties involved who aren’t the White House.”

For his part, Butowsky also spoke to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on August 1 and flatly insisted it’s “not true” that Trump had anything to do with the story. He accused Wheeler of being “dead broke” and wanting a job in the Trump administration. After the interview, Butowsky’s name trended on Twitter with people questioning his veracity.

All of this has people wondering more about Butowsky’s background.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Butowsky Is Accused of Sending Wheeler a Text Message Saying Trump Read the Fox Story Before It Aired

seth rich

Seth Rich.

The suit claims that then Press Secretary Spicer met with Wheeler and the Trump supporter, Butowsky, who was pushing the story, before it ran. According to the lawsuit, on May 14, 2017, Wheeler allegedly received a text message from Butowsky that said Trump read the Fox story before it ran:

Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It’s now all up to you. But don’t feel the pressure.

The lawsuit said the president referred to in the text message was Donald Trump.

You can read the Wheeler lawsuit in full here:

The reporter on the story, Malia Zimmerman, and Fox News published their story less than 36 hours later, alleging, the lawsuit says, “that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer, Seth Rich, was the source of the now infamous DNC emails leaked by WikiLeaks during the 2016 Presidential primaries.”

rod wheeler

Rod Wheeler.

The lawsuit alleges, “The motivation behind the article: establish that Seth Rich provided WikiLeaks with the DNC emails to shift the blame from Russia and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Presidential election.”

The retracted Fox News story had initially reported a supposed bombshell: That Wheeler, a private investigator working for the Rich family, had evidence that Rich was leaking information to WikiLeaks. The network later retracted the story.

The lawsuit was filed on August 1 in a New York federal court against Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., Fox News Network LLC, Malia Zimmerman, and Ed Butowsky. Butowsky is a Trump supporter who hired Wheeler, it says. Zimmerman was the reporter on the Fox story.

Fox’s president of news told NPR in response to the lawsuit that there is no “concrete evidence” that Zimmerman misquoted Wheeler. Spicer told NPR “that he took the meeting as a favor to Butowsky, a reliable Republican voice. Spicer says he was unaware of any contact involving the president. Butowsky now tells NPR he was kidding about Trump’s involvement.”

The lawsuit also claims that Butkowsky left a voicemail for Wheeler the same day that said, “A couple minutes ago I got a note that we have the full, uh, attention of the White House, on this. And, tomorrow, let’s close this deal, whatever we’ve got to do. But you can feel free to say that the White House is onto this now.”

Wheeler alleges in the lawsuit that the reporter, Zimmerman, “fabricated two quotations and attributed them to Mr. Wheeler.”

Those quotations were:

“My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks.”

And: “My investigation shows someone within the DC government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward. That is unfortunate, Seth Rich’s murder is unsolved as a result of that.”

Alleges the lawsuit, “According to Butowsky, the statements were falsely attributed to Mr. Wheeler because that is the way the President wanted the article. Zimmerman, Butowsky and Fox had created fake news to advance President Trump’s agenda.”

The suit alleges that Wheeler had to “correct the false record” and “lost all credibility in the eyes of the public.”

Asked for comment, Wheeler’s lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, told Heavy, “According to the complaint, at the same time that 21st Century Fox’s General Counsel, Gerson Zweifach, was meeting with the UK regulators in an attempt to convince them that Fox had in place procedures to ensure compliance with broadcasting standards to purchase Sky, Fox News was working with the Trump administration to disseminate fake news in order to distract the public from Russia’s alleged attempts to influence our Country’s presidential election.”

Butowsky said the voice mail he left for Wheeler that referred to the White House actually meant a Washington D.C. police officer who wanted whistleblower status. Incredulously, Cuomo asked, “How does a DC detective get coded as White House?” Butowsky responded, “He wanted whistleblower status, according to Rod Wheeler.”

Here’s the full interview:

VideoVideo related to ed butowsky: 5 fast facts you need to know2017-08-01T12:11:42-04:00

“I’ve never talked to President Trump in my life,” he said a few minutes later. He said when his text message mentioned the president it was meant “tongue-in-cheek” to Wheeler. “It was just two guys, me basically finding a way to chat with him about stuff he’s been talking about,” Butowsky said. “This lawsuit is all about Rod Wheeler trying to get money because he messed up.”

2. Butowsky Attended Trump’s Inauguration & Is a Wealth Manager From Dallas

ed butowsky

Ed Butowsky.

Buzzfeed reported that Butowsky is “a prominent wealth manager from Dallas and a contributor to Breitbart News who attended President Trump’s inauguration,” and who put the Seth Rich family in contact with Wheeler.

“They said they didn’t feel they were getting any answers,” Butowsky told Buzzfeed. “The investigation wasn’t going anywhere. I said ‘why don’t you hire a private detective?’ They said they didn’t have any money.” He told Buzzfeed that he “offered to pay for a private investigator, and called Wheeler. There, he said, his involvement ended,” but he added that Wheeler had never billed him.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Butowsky used to work for Morgan Stanley and is a managing partner at a Texas investment firm.

“Formerly with Morgan Stanley and ran a team in the High Net Worth space where we were members of the firm’s highest ranking designation, Chairman’s Club,” his LinkedIn bio says. “I was frequently in the top 5 of teams out of 14,000 teams in ranking and 2 times ranked number one. I am currently a Managing Partner at Chapwood Investments, LLC . Additionally, I recently co-founded http://www.720Investor.com.” (The latter website is no longer active.)

He describes his current company as “a boutique firm that manages the personal wealth for private individuals , often setting up mini- family office structures for clients.”

He has shown up on national television shows, writing, “I am frequently honored to be interviewed by the national media, including Fox News Channel, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business Channel, The Blaze TV, ABC, NBC, Sports Illustrated, and many of SIRIUS radio channels, including The David Webb Show.”

He added, that he “was previously a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley and guest lectured at Yale University, NYU Stern School of Business, SMU, University of Florida ETC…”

CNN reported he is “also a close friend of ’60 Minutes’ correspondent Lara Logan, even serving as a spokesperson of sorts after Logan was hospitalized in 2015.”

3. Butowsky Has a ‘Warm’ Rapport With Steve Bannon, Reports Say

stephen k. bannon, steve bannon, stephen bannon

Stephen K. Bannon.

On his website, reported Buzzfeed, Butowsky claimed “to serve on the board of an organization started by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.” However, the claim has now been removed from the website where it was first listed. Buzzfeed called Butowsky and Bannon friends. Buzzfeed said tax filings showed Butowsky was vice chairman of the group, which boasts as its secretary and treasurer “Jennifer and Rebekah Mercer, the powerful daughters of right-wing moneyman and Trump champion Robert Mercer.”

A spokesperson for Reclaim told BuzzFeed that Butowsky “has never had any formal involvement with the organization” and that Bannon left its board in August 2016. Butowsky described his friendship with Bannon as warm but not close to Buzzfeed, which quoted him as saying, “It’s not like I have a Steve Bannon teddy bear. I’ve never eaten a meal with the guy.” The site also said he had posted a photo of himself in the White House briefing room on March 22 for unknown reasons.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Butowsky pushed back against the Buzzfeed story.

He wrote: “There’s a lot of articles out there recently but this one really has pissed me off. I sat face-to-face with this man and from the very beginning he asked me questions about what type of relationship I have with Stephen Bannon. I told him I had been interviewed a few times on Breitbart radio; twice by Steve and twice by a fill-in for Steve’s show over two years ago. I have also had four articles published over 15 years in Breitbart. (You should go back and read Taxflation that I wrote a year and a half ago).”

He added, “I also was asked to be on the board of an organization called reclaim New York that my friend David Webb ran at the time. I have never met nor spoken to the Mercer family and actually have no idea how I’m connected to them. Apparently they funded Reclaim New York A think tank on tax policies in New York. I added value through my work with the Chapwood index.com.”

In the post, Butowsky alleged of the reporter, “He also made up that I didn’t know who initially said something to me about Seth Rich’s murder. Most of you know I’m not a professional media person but I have to tell you many of these people are as bad as you read about. I think this headline of this story basically says it all about him. It’s funny he says is not biased at all it just goes where things lead him. He lied right to my face. So to further demonstrate how this ‘reporter’ doesn’t tell the truth, for all of you that know me, can you imagine that I was sitting out front of Del Frisco’s feeding pigeons. I told him I was sitting outside of Del Friscos watching pigeons eat while I was working. It was nice Spring day.”

Butowsky has pushed the Russia angle is fake narrative on Facebook also, posting this CNN story in May:


On May 10, he wrote on Facebook, “Anyone who is observing the nonsense around potential Russian interference into altering the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump administration into altering the 2016 election know this narrative and storyline is all made up and has no support from any facts.”

4. The Lawsuit Contends That Butowsky Is a Fox News Contributor Who Is in ‘Regular Contact’ With Trump Administration Officials

ed butowsky

Ed Butowsky.

The lawsuit alleges that Butowsky is “a frequent contributor for Fox News and Fox Business Channel, an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and opponent of Hillary Clinton and a friend to former Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.”

Wheeler is a former Washington DC police homicide detective and is also a Fox News contributor.

Butkowsky had contacted Wheeler and offered “to bankroll an investigation into Seth Rich’s murder,” in February 2017, the lawsuit alleges.

The suit alleges that Butowsky kept in “regular contact with Trump Administration officials,” including Spicer, White House strategist Steve Bannon and Director of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice, Sarah Flores, regarding “his efforts relating to Seth Rich.”

Furthermore, says the suit, Spicer met with Butowsky and Wheeler and they “provided him with a copy of Mr. Wheeler’s investigative notes.” The suit claims that “Mr. Spicer asked to be kept abreast of developments.”

Wheeler claims he confronted Butowsky after the story came out, and Butowsky wrote Zimmerman, “I didn’t tell you yet but the federal government is involved at this moment, behind the scenes and believe your story.”

Butowsky sent messages to Fox News producers and to Wheeler that pushed the notion that the Russian narrative regarding DNC hacking was false and disproved by the Rich angle, the lawsuit contends.

Example of a text message he allegedly sent Wheeler: “The Narrative in the interviews you might use is that your and Malia’s work prove that the Russians didn’t hack into the DNC and steal the emails and impact our election.”

Fox News retracted the story on May 23 saying that it “was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.”

5. Butowsky, Who is Originally From New York, Calls Himself an ‘Irrational Optimist’ on Facebook & Says He Was Just Trying to Help the Rich Family

ed butowsky

A photo Ed Butowsky posted on Facebook.

On Facebook, Butowsky says, “I am an irrational optimist!” He wrote that he lives in Dallas, Texas and is from Chappaqua, New York.

In May, when the story first broke, Butowsky wrote on Facebook, “Some of you might have seen my name in a few stories this week. The press has a wonderful way of presenting things that serve to try to make people look bad. My friend David Webb had me on his show today to briefly explain precisely what my involvement was and has been so far. For any of you who are interested, please listen to this 4 minute clip.” You can listen to that audio clip here.

“It’s the media at it’s worst I think,” Butowsky said to Webb.

He outlined how he got involved in the Seth Rich case investigation.

“So, one day and people always hear different things, someone came up to me, someone I didn’t know very well and said I heard something about this young guy Seth Rich and why he was murdered, and the person just offered it up to me. And I just found it very interesting, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind because here I was a father of a 19-year-old and 22-year-old and can only imagine what it would be like to have a child murdered, and it just killed me to hear about this.”

He didn’t name that person. He added: “As I looked into it more, I thought, you know what, I should know this, and I don’t even know if it’s true or not, and I looked at some headlines, and I realized the parents weren’t getting any answers. And I thought, somehow I should just tell the parents.”

He said he knew the family was Jewish, and he is Jewish so he asked his Facebook friends whether they “knew anyone who was Jewish in Nebraska.” He was connected with someone who knew Rich’s family and contacted them. “I shared with them what I had heard,” Butowsky said of Seth Rich’s parents.

The father said, according to Butowsky, “Ed, we’re not getting any answers at all. We know nothing. No one’s talking to us. No one’s communicating with us. They said they would keep us updated and it’s crickets.” he said he suggested they hire a private investigator, but they didn’t have the money so he offered to foot the bill. “I said, ‘You know, I would be happy to foot the bill.'” He said he thought, “I hope it’s not a fortune because I’m not a real rich guy.”

“I offered it up, let me see if I can find someone. I actually found Rod Wheeler because he has a great reputation.” He said that he would pay any bills “and that was the end of it.” He added, “Next thing you know, weird things start happening… but that is how I got involved. Simply trying to help a man and a lady find out who killed their son.”

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