D.C. police said they are still actively investigating the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich as a botched robbery, despite a news report that resurrected a conspiracy theory about the case.
The Metropolitan Police Department and the deputy mayor for public safety, Kevin Donahue, told News4 they are still actively investigating the Rich homicide, and the conspiracy theories surrounding the case are not true.
"Our homicide branch is actively investigating Mr. Rich’s murder, and we continue to work with the Rich family to bring closure to the case as we do with all homicide cases," said Dustin Sternbeck, a spokesman for the police department.
"This is a robbery that ended tragically. That’s bad enough for our city, and I think it is irresponsible to conflate this into something that doesn’t connect to anything that the detectives have found," Donahue said. "No WikiLeaks connection."
Rich’s family also released a statement on Tuesday, denying the details of a story on Fox News.
"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. "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."
Rich was killed early on July 10, 2016, as he was walking to his home in the Bloomingdale section of Washington, D.C. Police have been investigating the case as a robbery that turned deadly, but a news report from Fox News Monday night stirred up old conspiracy theories surrounding this unsolved case.
A private detective, Rod Wheeler, told a Fox news station there is evidence of email exchanges between Rich and WikiLeaks, an organization that publishes secret information, news leaks and classified media from anonymous sources. It was WikiLeaks that exposed embarrassing DNC emails that impacted Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016.
The Fox report said the FBI examined Rich’s computer, and it showed more than 44,000 DNC emails and 17,761 attachments were sent to a person with connections at WikiLeaks.
However, the FBI Washington field office said they have never examined Rich’s laptop, because the D.C. police never asked for their assistance.
Wheeler also claimed D.C. police detectives investigating the case were told to “stand down.”
“Totally false,” Donahue said in response to that claim.
Lobbyist lawyer Jack Burkman has posted a $105,000 reward for information in this case. He said he is doing his own investigation and doesn’t know about the alleged emails between Rich and WikiLeaks.
"I don’t know. I don’t know," Burkman said. “I want to see the emails that (Wheeler) says he has. I’ve got to see the evidence. We just don’t have any evidence."
Burkman said he does not think it was a robbery gone bad.