On May 14, about 36 hours before Fox News’ story appeared, Butowsky left a voicemail for Wheeler, saying, “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.”

Butowsky also texted Wheeler: “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.”…

Wheeler played his own role in furthering the story. But he contends he regretted it the same day it aired. His suit alleges Fox News defamed him by manufacturing two false quotations and attributing them to him and ruining his reputation by blaming him as the deceptive story fell apart. Wheeler, an African American, is also suing the network for racial discrimination, saying he failed to advance as prominently as white counterparts. Fox News had no comment on that allegation.