The conservative conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton had Democratic staffer Seth Rich murdered have escalated to the point that his family and friends have taken to the press to put it to an end.
Rich’s family, who spoke with Business Insider Wednesday through their spokesman Brad Bauman, called the theories that Seth was murdered by Clinton unfounded and dangerous.
“Some are attempting to politicize this horrible tragedy, and in their attempts to do so, are actually causing more harm than good and impeding on the ability for law enforcement to properly do their job,” Bauman said. “For the sake of finding Seth’s killer, and for the sake of giving the family the space they need at this terrible time, they are asking for the public to refrain from pushing unproven and harmful theories about Seth’s murder.”
The conspiracy theory has taken on a new life in recent days as whistleblower website WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange implied in an interview with Dutch program Nieuwsuur that Rich may have been the organization’s source for the Democratic National Committee emails it leaked last month. WikiLeaks is now offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s murderer.
Other versions of the theory include that Rich, who worked on voter data, was on his way to meet with the FBI about voter fraud in the Clinton campaign when he was shot. However, there is no evidence to support claims that the Clinton campaign is engaged in voter fraud, that Rich had any contact with the FBI, or that he leaked any party information.
The family’s statement came the same day that Miles Mawby, a close friend of Rich’s who was with him before he died, told the Daily Mail Online that the idea that Rich leaked DNC documents was “absurd.”
“People are] fanning flames of wild rumors from the internet from conspiracy theorists. It’s absolutely absurd. Seth was one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met. His day-to-day work… that got him up in the morning,” Mawby said.
Security experts and Democratic party officials have linked the hack of the DNC emails, along with the recently revealed larger hack of nearly 100 individuals or groups affiliated with the Democratic party, to Russia. However, WikiLeaks’ Assange has denied that Russia was involved with the hacked emails it released.
Others in conservative circles, including sometimes Trump advisor Roger Stone, have continued to push the unfounded theory about Rich’s death, purporting it fits in with a long history of alleged murders on the orders of the Clintons.
Four more dead bodies in the Clinton’s wake. Coincidence? I think not.@ClintonsWarpic.twitter.com/t8Skx2stOB— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) August 9, 2016
Rich, who Mawby said was happy at the DNC and a Clinton supporter, was shot in D.C. on his way home around 4 a.m. Nearly a month after his murder, police have no leads and are offering a $25,000 reward for information.
Last week, Rich’s mother Mary issued a public appeal for help in a press conference, asking for anyone with information to come forward.
“The family is in constant contact with authorities and thank them for their extremely thorough investigation. The family believes this matter is being handled professionally and with the seriousness that it requires,” Bauman said.