Report: Seth Rich sent 44,000 DNC emails to WikiLeaks before he was murdered

 

 

 

Posted:May 16 2017 02:43PM EDT

Updated:May 16 2017 08:11PM EDT

- Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, was murdered in DC on July 10, 2016. He was shot and killed as he walked home in the Bloomingdale neighborhood, in what DC police have suggested was a botched robbery, but online conspiracy theories have tied the murder to Rich's work at the DNC.

Rich worked as a data analyst for the Democratic National Committee. He was walking home from a bar, talking to his girlfriend on the phone, when he was shot. As the investigation progressed, police revealed nothing had been taken from Rich during the shooting, and apparently he fought with his assailants. 

In a report published Tuesday, Fox News reports Rich sent over 44,000 internal DNC emails to WikiLeaks before he died. The report cites information from a federal investigator who requested to remain anonymous, and Rod Wheeler, a private investigator hired by the Rich family and paid by a third party, who is also a paid Fox News contributor.

In an email to FOX 5 DC's Marina Marraco Tuesday night, Rich family spokesperson Brad Bauman said he could confirm that Fox News contributor Ed Butowsky, a Dallas financial advisor. The statement from Bauman reads as follows: "Ed has spent the past six months cultivating a relationship with the Rich family, grooming them and pushing them on the idea of an independent investigation. He personally introduced them to the investigator and said he would pay for his services. Any claims by him that he wasn't personally and intimately involved in this is an outright lie."

In an interview Monday night, Wheeler told FOX 5 DC there may be tangible evidence on Seth Rich's laptop that confirms he was communicating with WikiLeaks prior to his death.  Wheeler, a former D.C. police homicide detective, is running a parallel investigation into Rich’s murder. In a statement issued by the Rich family spokesperson Tuesday regarding the new report, the family said "the private investigator who spoke to press was offered to the Rich family and paid for by a third party, and contractually was barred from speaking to press or anyone outside of law enforcement or the family unless explicitly authorized by the family."

Wheeler told FOX 5 DC reporter Marina Marraco on Monday night he believes there is a cover up and the police department has been told to back down from the investigation.

"The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming,” Wheeler said Monday night. “They haven't been cooperating at all. I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI. I have been told both.”

When asked if his sources have told him there is information that links Rich to WikiLeaks, Wheeler said, “Absolutely. Yeah. That's confirmed."

"I have a source inside the police department that has looked at me straight in the eye and said, ‘Rod, we were told to stand down on this case and I can’t share any information with you,’" Wheeler told FOX 5 DC on Monday night. "Now, that is highly unusual for a murder investigation, especially from a police department. Again, I don’t think it comes from the chief’s office, but I do believe there is a correlation between the mayor's office and the DNC and that is the information that will come out [Tuesday]."

Rich family responds, blasts detectives over report

Rich's family blasted Wheeler's claims and the information included in the Fox News report. In a statement released by family spokesperson Brad Mauman on Tuesday, Rich's family said assertions that Rich sent emails to WikiLeaks were "unsubstantiated." Bauman said even if purported emails were to surface, it would not necessarily mean Rich had helped WikiLeaks.

Here is the full text of the statement from Rich's family:

"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. Even if tomorrow, an email was found, it is not a high enough bar of evidence to prove any interactions as emails can be altered and we've seen that those interested in pushing conspiracies will stop at nothing to do so.

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. The services of the private investigator who spoke to press was offered to the Rich family and paid for by a third party, and contractually was barred from speaking to press or anyone outside of law enforcement or the family unless explicitly authorized by the family."

Late Tuesday evening, Bauman confirmed by email to FOX 5's Marina Marraco reports that Rich's family claims Ed Butowsky, a Fox News contributor, was the third party who paid for the investigation. 

 

"Ed has spent the past six months cultivating a relationship with the Rich family, grooming them and pushing them on the idea of an independent investigation. He personally introduced them to the investigator and said he would pay for his services. Any claims by him that he wasn't personally and intimately involved in this is an outright lie," Bauman said. 

 

Rewards offered for information total $150,000

 

 

 

DC police issued a statement on the Rich case, saying it's still an active investigation and detectives are working with Rich's family.

"If there are any individuals who feel they have information, we urge them to call us at (202) 727-9099 or text us at 50411. The department is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information on this case that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible."

In addition to the $25,000 reward offered by DC police, WikiLeaks offered a $20,000 reward last August, and Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman has offered a separate reward of $105,000 in the case. In March, Burkman, who has appeared alongside the Rich family at news conferences related to the case, said he had evidence from a former U.S. intelligence officer that Rich's murder was linked to Russian operatives.

 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE ON THE SETH RICH MURDER INVESTIGATION:

Family's private investigator: There is evidence Seth Rich had contact with WikiLeaks prior to death

Family of DNC staffer Seth Rich seeking to raise money to help solve his murder

Republican lobbyist says murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich linked to Russian operatives

Mother of murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich pleads for public's help

Republican lobbyist offers $100K reward in murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich

WikiLeaks offers $20K reward in murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich

WikiLeaks founder addresses death of DNC staffer Seth Rich in Fox News interview

Comments by Julian Assange fuel speculation that murdered DNC staffer may have been WikiLeaks source

What happened during final hours slain DNC employee Seth Rich was alive?

Parents of slain DNC employee make emotional plea to help find son's killer

DNC honors murdered staffer Seth Rich with memorial bike rack outside of headquarters

Vigil held for slain DNC staffer in Bloomingdale

DNC employee fatally shot in Northwest DC

 

Sources: http://www.fox5dc.com/news/254985474-story

 

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