Julian Assange Is 'A Monster, Not A Journalist,' Former Seth Rich Family Spokesman Says After Mueller Report

Jonathan Vankin

A former spokesperson for the family of Seth Rich -- a Democratic National Committee staff member who was murdered on July 10, 2016 -- issued a public statement on Friday. In that statement, the spokesman condemned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a "monster," after phrasing in the Mueller report claimed, as The Inquisitr reported, that Assange had promoted a conspiracy theory claiming Rich's death was somehow connected to the leak of stolen DNC emails that were posted online by Wikileaks — even though Assange allegedly knew that the conspiracy theory was false.

The conspiracy theory about Rich's death was also promoted by Fox News — most actively by prime time host Sean Hannity, as Newsweek reported — and even by prominent Republican political figures. One such figure was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who can be heard reiterating Assange's accusation in a Fox News interview posted on YouTube.

But on page 48 of his report released on Thursday, special counsel Robert Mueller claims that even as Assange was promoting the claim that Rich — not Russian agents — had been the source of the leaked DNC emails, the WikiLeaks founder and editor was actively communicating with the Russian hackers, attempting to obtain the stolen emails.

In fact, as reported by The Daily Beast, the Mueller report claimed that Assange obtained "an encrypted one-gigabyte file" containing the emails from Russian intelligence agents posing as a lone hacker called "Guccifer 2.0" on July 14, 2016.

"The most charitable view of WikiLeaks' Seth Rich hoax is that Assange genuinely thought it possible that Rich was his source for the DNC leaks," wrote Daily Beast reporter Kevin Poulson on his Twitter account. "Mueller's timeline proves that false. Assange knew Rich couldn't have been the leaker. He was already dead."

Brad Bauman, the former spokesperson for Rich's family — who later sued Fox News over an allegedly false report on the investigation into Rich's death, as NPR reported — issued a statement on Friday. Said statement was posted via Twitter by Wall Street Journal reporter Dustin Volz.

"Assange did untold damage to a grieving family in order to try and hide his work with Russian intelligence and destabilize American democracy," Bauman said in the statement. "Yesterday's report proved he is a monster, not a journalist, and I hope that's not lost in the ongoing debate around his recent arrest."

Assange was arrested in London on April 11, and has been charged with participating in the theft of classified documents related to a 2011 Pentagon leak, as The Inquisitr reported.

Though he was allegedly aware that Rich was not the source of the DNC emails, Assange seemed to continue to imply that Rich was indeed WikiLeaks' source -- and that his murder was connected to his supposed leaking -- Mueller reported. WikiLeaks even offered a $20,000 reward for "information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich," later upping the reward, via Twitter, to $130,000.