PI Claims DNC Staffer's Murder Is Connected to WikiLeaks
But Seth Rich's family says claims are 'unsubstantiated' conspiracy theories
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2017 12:58 PM CDT
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared to imply murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was a WikiLeaks whisleblower, a claim WikiLeaks later tried to walk back.   (WikiLeaks via AP)

(Newser) – The family of a murdered DNC staffer is fighting back against a private investigator's claims he was in contact with WikiLeaks prior to his death and may have been murdered in connection to his work at the DNC. Seth Rich, 27, was shot and killed last July during what police say appears to have been an attempted robbery. After Rich's death, WikiLeaks offered a $20,000 reward for help in solving his murder, and Julian Assange appeared to imply Rich had been passing material on to them, BuzzFeed reports. Now, according to FOX 5, a PI named Rod Wheeler says there's evidence on Rich's laptop that shows he was in contact with WikiLeaks. Wheeler says the police were "told to stand down on this case" in a cover-up he believes stems from the DNC and DC mayor's office.

But Rich's family—who FOX 5 states hired Wheeler—says the PI, a Fox News contributor, is not authorized to speak for them, Fox News reports. A family spokesperson says Wheeler was hired by a "third party." Fox News states an unnamed federal investigator has backed up Wheeler's claims, adding he's read the emails between Rich and WikiLeaks and Rich forwarded more than 44,000 DNC emails to WikiLeaks. The family spokesperson says there's "no facts" and "no evidence" to support these "unsubstantiated" claims. The family says any reports to the contrary are baseless conspiracy theories. Rich's murder remains unsolved.

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