The Seth Rich conspiracy – that is, the theory that a young Democratic National Convention staffer was deliberately killed for his alleged involvement in the DNC email leaks to WikiLeaks – just won’t die. It has started to pick up steam again, nearly a year after Rich’s death. It continues to spread and be poked, prodded, and shared on sites like Twitter, Reddit, and Medium, where there is little to no oversight on what is posted.
And now, it’s spread to Fox and Friends, as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich used a Sunday-morning appearance to further raise questions over the death of Seth Rich, according to Washington Post.
“We have this very strange story now of this young man who worked for the Democratic National Committee, who apparently was assassinated at 4 in the morning, having given WikiLeaks something like 53,000 emails and 17,000 attachments.”
Note that, according to CNN, there is no evidence that Rich was in any way responsible for the email leaks, although it remains within the realm of possibility.
“Nobody’s investigating that, and what does that tell you about what’s going on? Because it turns out, it wasn’t the Russians. It was this young guy who, I suspect, was disgusted by the corruption of the Democratic National Committee. He’s been killed, and apparently nothing serious has been done to investigative his murder.”
Seth Rich, 27, a DNC staffer, was found dying around 4 a.m. in D.C.’s Bloomingdale neighborhood from a gunshot wound in his back. He was transported, conscious, to a hospital, where he died later that day. His death remains unsolved, like thousands of murders in America.
But given Rich’s position and the timing of his death, conspiracy theorists and far-right trolls alike latched onto his death as evidence that the DNC was conspiring to murder dissenters; the “Clinton Body Count,” as it was called at the time on social media. Since then, there have been several dedicated groups online who refuse to let go of his death – and as the Post notes, they’re from both sides of the aisle.
Gingrich used the resurfacing of the rumors to call into question Robert S. Mueller III’s qualifications to lead the investigation into potential Russian interference with the election. “I’d like to see how Mueller is going to define what his assignment is,” he said.
But the theory lives on most strongly through people on the left who continue to believe that Rich was killed for his frustrations over a perceived bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders.
As the Post again noted, the latest round of allegations – that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks, that he was posting on Reddit under a second, pro-Bernie Sanders account – were quickly debunked. They started, this time, with Fox 5 commentator Rod Wheeler on Monday night. Within a day, his comments were shot down, and Wheeler himself said that he was told by executives to make the claims. The latest Seth Rich story was dead in the water.
Except that it wasn’t. On Saturday, Kim Dotcom, formerly of MegaUpload, claimed (in response to Fox‘s Sean Hannity, who devoted parts of three of his shows this week to Seth Rich) to have evidence that Rich was communicating with WikiLeaks – and according to popular Seth Rich conspiracy theorists on Medium, “if Kim Dotcom produces the goods, mainstream America will be forced to wake up.”
Meanwhile, Rich’s family called out outlets pushing the theory, according to the Independent.
“It’s sad but unsurprising that a group of media outlets who have repeatedly lied to the American people would try and manipulate the legacy of a murder victim in order to forward their own political agenda,” wrote Rich family spokesperson Brad Bauman. “As we’ve seen through the past year of unsubstantiated claims, we see no facts, we have seen no evidence, we have been approached with no emails and only learned about this when contacted by the press.”
“We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth’s murderers.”
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]