EDITOR’S NOTE: On Tuesday, Fox News retracted its report this article was based on.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly claimed that Ron Wheeler was employed by the Rich family to investigate Seth’s death. Wheeler was in fact hired by a third party, not the Rich family who has since refuted the original reports.
Brad Bauman, a spokesman for the family, released a statement clarifying the situation Tuesday.
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. I think there is a special place in hell for people like that.
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.
Slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks prior to his death, according to a private investigator hired to look into the case and other law enforcement sources.
Rich was shot and killed almost a year ago in Northwest D.C. in what police called a botched robbery.
A private investigator hired on behalf of the family by a third party, Rod Wheeler, has revealed to FOX 5 DC that there is evidence on Rich’s laptop that confirms he was in contact with WikiLeaks before his murder.
“Absolutely. Yeah. That’s confirmed,” Wheeler said when FOX asked if his sources could link Rich to WikiLeaks.
A federal investigator who spoke to Fox News corroborated this account, saying Rich was in contact with Gavin MacFayden, a director of WikiLeaks who has also died.
“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,” which are in the possession of the FBI, the investigator said.
He claims there are 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments from the Democratic National Committee that were forwarded to MacFayden by Rich.
UPDATE (5/23/17): Fox News has retracted its May 16 story on Seth Rich, saying it did not meet its editorial standards.
A spokesperson for Rich’s family called the claims “unsubstantiated” and said Wheeler is not authorized to speak on behalf of the family.
Wheeler, who is a former police homicide detective, is running his own investigation into Rich’s murder and believes the police department may be trying to cover up what actually led to Rich’s death.
“The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming,” said Wheeler. “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.”
Wheeler also claims that a source inside the police department told him the police were ordered to stand down on Rich’s case.
“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].”