Ed Butowsky, a wealthy supporter of President Trump who is implicated in a lawsuit against Fox News, said the plaintiff, Rod Wheeler, is "broke" and simply "trying to get money."
Butowsky has strong ties to Fox News as an unpaid political commentator and he said Tuesday night on CNN that Wheeler, a paid Fox News contributor, is motivated by money.
"Rod Wheeler was always looking for a job because he has no money," Butowsky said. "And by the way, this lawsuit is all about Rod Wheeler trying to get money because he messed up."
Details of the lawsuit were published this week by NPR, claiming that a retracted Fox News story regarding the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich included fabricated quotes attributed to Wheeler, a former Washington, D.C.,-based detective.
Wheeler claims that Butowsky pushed him to pursue the story, which suggested that Rich's 2016 murder was a cover-up by Democrats, and that the White House and Trump were directly involved.
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer has admitted to meeting with both Butowsky and Wheeler as a favor to them, but that he was unaware of any direct input from Trump.
In the CNN interview, Butowsky said Wheeler was actively trying to get a job in the Trump administration and that he pursued the story on Rich because he thought it would help him in that effort.
"Rod Wheeler had been, you know, talking to me all the time about how much he wanted to get a job," he said. "He said, 'Get me on the Trump team."
The lawyer representing Wheeler has said his legal team wants to question both Trump and Spicer.