WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser called allegations that the city’s police department is involved in a cover-up in the Seth Rich murder investigation “preposterous.”
Rich was a Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed last July in Washington in what the Metropolitan Police Department determined was a botched robbery attempt. His wallet, iPhone and watch were left on his person like so many other murders in the city, it remains unsolved.
Rod Wheeler, a former D.C. homicide detective and Fox News contributor whose private investigation firm was hired by a third party to investigate the murder, made the allegation in an interview with Fox 5 WTTG.
“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 claims. “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].”
Wheeler also claims Rich was in contact with document dump site Wikileaks before his death.
Bowser said Tuesday morning she had little if no reaction to Wheeler’s investigation but did say, “I think it’s important to talk about that any homicide in the District of Columbia gets the full attention of the full attention of the Metropolitan Police Department. In fact, we have a cold case unit that is always focused on how they solve homicides in D.C. no matter how old the homicides are.”
When asked by TheDC if she had spoken to the DNC immediately following Rich’s death, Bowser replied, “Of course. The Metropolitan Police Department, in the course of their investigation, have reached out to any and all parties.”
Bowser went on to say, “I don’t think I particularly talked to the DNC. They came in to talk to us. I was with [Rich’s family] and their discussions with us.”
Was anything related to a “stand down” order of the case discussed?
“Certainly not. That’s preposterous,” Bowser responded.
Rich’s family disputed Wheeler’s claims in a statement Tuesday.
“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,” the statement said. “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 statement continued, “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.”
Wikileaks hit back at the statement by attacking the family’s spokesman, former Congressional Progressive Caucus staffer Brad Bauman, a partner with the Democratic consulting firm the Pastorum Group.
Seth Rich’s new “family spokesman” is Brad Bauman a professional Democrat crisis PR consultant with the Pastorum Group.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 11, 2016
Fox News reported Tuesday that an FBI forensic report revealed he communicated with WikiLeaks through its director Gavin MacFadyen.
“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department.