A White House petition urging Congress to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the murder of Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich is halfway to its goal before a June 18 deadline.
“The MSM [mainstream media] is not covering this murder, instead pushing it to the side, so it is now up to us,” the petition asserts. “The facts do not add up, law enforcement stopped covering the crime, and now it is time for us to fight for justice.”
Under former President Barack Obama, the White House would respond to any “We the People” petition that received over 100,000 signatures within 30 days from the time of its posting. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Seth Rich petition needed 49,745 signatures to reach 100,000.
Launched in September 2011 as a public relations tool for the Obama administration, it is unclear if the Trump administration plans to continue with the “We the People” petition system. The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the White House for further information, but did not hear back by press time.
Rich, 27, was the voter expansion data director at the DNC, according to Roll Call, and had been employed for two years. Rich also worked on a computer application to help voters locate polling stations, and had just accepted a job with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
According to Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) reports, officers patrolling the Bloomingdale neighborhood heard gunshots around 4:20 a.m. on the morning of July 10, 2016. Officers discovered a “conscious and breathing” Rich at 2100 Flagler Place in northwest Washington, D.C.
Police have not yet solved the case, and have closely guarded information regarding his murder from the press. “We don’t want this investigation playing out in the press,” an MPD spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation May 23.
MPD surmised that Rich was a victim of a botched robbery. Police said that they found his wallet, credit cards and cellphone on his body. The band of his wristwatch was torn but not broken. The current theory maintains that the shooters panicked after shooting Rich and immediately fled the scene.
While police have refused to divulge information on the case, TheDCNF obtained the public incident report, which revealed that at least three responding officers were wearing body cameras. When TheDCNF reached out to the police for information regarding the presence of body cams or surveillance footage near the scene of the crime, the department refused to confirm or deny the existence of surveillance footage.
MPD has a history of regularly releasing surveillance video to the public pertaining to unsolved criminal investigations. A quick look at the police department’s YouTube channel reveals that they regularly release video footage in cases involving a person of interest. MPD has released 12 videos in the last week alone, to include unsolved murder investigations. Their habit for transparency with unsolved cases raises the question as to why they’ve been so tight-lipped about the Rich case.
The family of Seth Rich called on police to publicize details of the murder investigation after 10 months of mystery. (RELATED: Family of Seth Rich Demands That Police Release Information To The Public)
“While the family still have confidence in the Metropolitan Police Department’s ability to investigate Seth’s murder, of course, they are frustrated with the lack of evidence, leads and credible information about the case,” Brad Bauman a spokesman for the family, told TheDCNF. “They desperately want to find Seth’s murderers and bring them to justice as quickly as possible.”
Fox News retracted a story May 23 that claimed Rich may have been behind a breach of the DNC’s email servers, where Wikileaks obtained thousands of internal email communications that it leaked to the public.
Rod Wheeler, a Washington-based private investigator that the Rich family agreed to hire at the behest of a wealthy friend, suggested that there was tangible evidence that Rich had communicated with WikiLeaks before his death. The next day, Wheeler seemed to backtrack on those claims, and local police said that his assertions were “unfounded.”
The Rich family, according to the New York Times, now regrets hiring Wheeler, and has publicly objected to his claims.
Wheeler was not the only person to lend his help to the Rich family. Washington, D.C. attorney and lobbyist Jack Burkman is leading an independent effort to solve the murder with forensic scientists and students at George Washington University.
Burkman, who is offering $105,000 of his own money for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible, filed a lawsuit May 31 in an attempt to force the police to release information regarding the murder investigation. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Attorney To File Lawsuit In Seth Rich Murder Mystery)
American businessman and investor Martin Shkreli put up $100,000 of his own money for information leading to an arrest, making the announcement over Facebook May 26. (RELATED: Martin Shkreli Drops $100K Bounty For Info On Seth Rich’s Murderer)
One America News Network is also offering $100,000 for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect.
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