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Attorney Plans to Call President Trump to Testify in Seth Rich Lawsuit

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Investigator Rod Wheeler is suing Fox News over a story that indicated that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was killed as a result of communications he had with WikiLeaks, and now Wheeler’s attorney says he wants key White House figures to testify. Wheeler, one of the main sources for the article which was later retracted, claims that Fox News fabricated quotes that they attributed to him to support their story, and that they allegedly ran the story at the behest of the Trump administration. Now, Wheeler’s attorney says he wants to depose President Donald Trump and former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Fox News has vigorously denied many of the allegations in the lawsuit.

Wigdor confirmed to LawNewz.com that Trump and Spicer are among witnesses he wants to testify at depositions for the case. The complaint Wigdor filed on Tuesday alleges that Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and contributor Ed Butowski met with Spicer to discuss the story, and that President Trump himself had a hand in the editing process.

“Like any other case we would seek documents and testimony of all witnesses that have relevant information  that would assist in the prosecution of our case,” Wigdor said. “Based on the communications of Ed Butowsky, therefore, discovery in this matter will seek documents and testimony from the President and Mr. Spicer.”

Wigdor is also representing more than a dozen current and former Fox employees in discrimination lawsuits against the network and parent company 21st Century Fox.

While Wigdor may seek a deposition with Trump, that doesn’t mean POTUS will end up having to testify while in office. Yes, President Bill Clinton had to testify in the Paula Jones case, so it wouldn’t be unprecedented for a sitting president to take the stand. However, Clinton was the subject of that case, while Trump is just a witness in this one. The court may not deem his testimony—or the case, for that matter—worthy of interrupting President Trump’s schedule. If Trump’s testimony is considered necessary for the case, it could be postponed until after Trump is out of office.

At the same time, because Trump would only be a witness, the court could determine that testimony would not be a significant burden on his schedule and allow a deposition to take place while he’s still in office.

Note: This article has been updated with additional analysis of the likelihood of Trump testifying, and a link to Fox News’ statement. 

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