The family of Seth Rich, a Jewish Democratic National Committee staffer killed near his Washington, DC, home last summer, has called on Fox News to retract its story saying that Rich had contact with WikiLeaks before his death.
Rich, 27, a Nebraska native, was shot dead while walking home before dawn on July 10, 2016. Police have speculated that he was the victim of a robbery gone awry. Rich’s body was found about a block from his home with his wallet, watch and cellphone still in his possession.
His death sparked several conspiracy theories online, including that he was a source for WikiLeaks.
Several days after Rich’s death WikiLeaks released a collection of DNC emails that US intelligence officials now say was related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Fox’s Washington affiliate in a story released Monday linked Rich’s death and the email dump, citing statements from Rod Wheeler, a private investigator who said he is working with the Rich family and said, among various conflicting comments, that there is evidence of emails between Rich and WikiLeaks.
The report also cited an unnamed federal agent, though Rich’s family told BuzzFeed that no federal agency is working on the case. Wheeler has since backed off his claims.
In August, WikiLeaks offered a $20,000 award for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s killer. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in an interview on Netherlands TV suggested that Rich may have been a source for the leaks clearinghouse, reigniting conspiracy theories.
The Rich family told BuzzFeed through a spokesman that if the story is not retracted, they will take legal action against Fox.