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Family of Seth Rich denies private investigator’s WikiLeaks claim

PUBLISHED Mon, May 15, 2017 - 10:39pm EDT

The family of Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee worker who was shot dead in Washington, D.C. last summer, has rejected claims from a private investigator who said Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks. (more)

Rod Wheeler, who previously worked as a homicide detective for the Metropolitan Police Department, told FOX 5 that a "source" had told him that the FBI had recovered evidence which suggests Rich was communicating with WikiLeaks shortly before his death.

An initial report from the Fox News affiliate said Wheeler had been hired as a private investigator by Rich's family, but the victim's family on Tuesday stated that the services of Wheeler had been offered to them and were paid for by a third party.

In the interview, Wheeler, who is also a Fox News contributor, claimed that evidence proving contacts with WikiLeaks had been recovered from Rich's laptop. He also suggested that a cover-up was taking place to prevent the investigation from moving forward. But Rich's family has rejected the claims.

"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," Rich's family said in a statement. "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."

The family added: "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."

Also on Tuesday, Fox News reported that a federal investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed that tens of thousands of DNC emails were sent from Rich to the late WikiLeaks director Gavin MacFadyen. BNO News has no information to confirm any of the claims.

"As a matter of policy we do not confirm or deny whether any person has ever been a source for WikiLeaks," the organization said in a statement in August. "After the Aaron Swartz case we formalized this policy to also cover alleged sources who were deceased."

Just days earlier, WikiLeaks had issued a $20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in Rich's case.

The murder happened at around 4:20 a.m. ET on July 10 when officers patrolling in northwest D.C. heard gunshots being fired. Upon arrival in the 2100 block of Flagler Place, they located Rich, who was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

No arrests have been made but police believe it could have been a robbery gone wrong, even though nothing appeared to have been stolen. Rich's death led to conspiracy theories which claim the murder is linked to the DNC or even Hillary Clinton, but none of those claims have been substantiated.

Rich worked as Voter Expansion Data Director for the Democratic Party's national committee.

  Washington, D.C.     





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