Seth Rich was an innocent man who became involved in a number of conspiracy theories after his death.
Beautifully Sitting in Netflix’s Top 10 Most Popular Bars is a docu-series of the moment. The Network of Pretense: Death, Lies and the Internet. Co-produced by Ron Howard, the captivating six-episode film opened viewers’ eyes to the dark and criminal side of the internet as another episode explores a new cyber-case.
Episode 1 introduced us to Tyler Barriss. (will open in a new tab) and slamming Wichita in 2017, while episode 4 was heard from victims of Ryan Valle’s sex torter. (will open in a new tab). But we are revealing the second series and the murder of Seth Rich. From who the police think killed him to the MAD conspiracy theories that followed, we’ve broken down the need to know the details.
Who killed Seth Rich?
The murder of Seth Rich remains an open and unsolved case. But the Washington, D.C. police, who were investigating his death, still maintain that Seth died at the hands of two unidentified men who shot him during a turned-around armed robbery.
Police say Seth Rich’s murder was the result of a botched robbery at gunpoint. David Folkenflick of NPRwho also contributed The network of pretense documentary.
Keith L. Alexander of The Washington Post agrees: “They believe—according to their sources and investigations—that Seth Rich was part of another random heist. An accidental robbery that went wrong,” he said in video report (will open in a new tab).
“They believe that because Rich was drunk when these people approached him with a gun to rob him, he fought back, instead of handing over his wallet, watch or his valuables. And because he resisted, the attackers shot him and then they fled.”
Several robberies took place in the Bloomingdale area, where Seth lived and was shot, in the days, weeks, and even a month before his death. He died as a result of two gunshot wounds to the back, received around 4:19 am on July 10, 2016. He was walking home after having a late drink at the bar.
Metropolitan Police Department authorities immediately linked Seth’s murder to these incidents. “We are aware of robberies in this particular area. And we’re looking for similarities with the robberies and our case,” Capt. Anthony Haight of the Metropolitan Police Homicide Squad said during a press conference the day after the shooting.
Detectives are still actively working on the Seth Rich case and continue to ask for leads or any relevant information.
Who was Seth Rich?
27 year old Seth Conrad Rich was Democratic National Committee (DNC) employee. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, he moved to Washington, DC shortly after graduating from college to start his career in politics.
According to Voice (will open in a new tab)Seth’s first DC role was in Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (will open in a new tab) is a consulting firm that conducts opinion polls and conducts market research. After that, he joined the DNC, where his job was to help people figure out how to vote.
“His whole heart and soul was about registering voters and registering properly,” Seth’s mom Mary said in the Netflix documentary. “Everyone should vote for him.”
Politics has always been Rich’s big passion. Vox reported that as a child, Seth also volunteered to help in two Democratic Senate campaigns.
“At a very, very young age, he could tell me about every member of Congress, every senator, every governor, what they stood for, what the policy was,” Mary Rich said in The network of pretense.
Why conspiracy theories?
Seth Rich’s career as a Democratic National Committee staffer eventually led to conspiracy theorists. claiming that Seth’s death was a deliberate attack related to his political role.
The timing of Seth’s assassination in July 2016 coincided with the US presidential race that same year. Donald Trump (and future president) led the Republicans while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders fought as Democrats.
Theory 1. Hillary Clinton
According to U.S. federal officer in the Rich case (will open in a new tab), the Russian foreign intelligence service, called the SVR, sent out a bulletin three days after the assassination. It claimed that Clinton’s “combat squad” was behind his death. In particular, it was the first conspiracy theory.
“The alleged details in the SVR report seemed implausible at first glance: Rich, director of data at the DNC’s voter protection division, was on his way to alert the FBI about Clinton’s corrupt dealings when he was assassinated in the early hours of Sunday morning by the ex-Secretary of State’s squad,” explains Yahoo News Investigative Correspondent (will open in a new tab) Michael Isikoff.
Several investigations and federal prosecutors have concluded that this claim is unfounded and untrue.
Theory 2. WikiLeaks and Fox News
Nearly a month after his death, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange suggested that Seth Rich was working as a source for an anti-secret website. In an interview with a Dutch TV program Newsyure On August 9, 2016, Assange mentioned the assassination of Seth Rich. When asked by a reporter what the relevance is, Assange replied: “We don’t comment on who our sources are.”
On the same day, WikiLeaks posted a tweet announcing a $20,000 reward for any information related to Rich’s murder.
Publicly, Assange falsely suggested that Seth was involved in the thousands of leaked Democratic Party emails that were obtained and released by WikiLeaks.
Assange was not the only one to claim a connection between the two. Enter former DC Metropolitan Police Detective Rod Wheeler, who was also hired by the Rich family to investigate Seth’s death. He told partner channel Fox VTTG-T (will open in a new tab) that Rich’s laptop had “tangible evidence to support that he was in contact with WikiLeaks prior to his death”.
Wheeler also added that he had spoken to someone at the police department who had also been ordered to drop the investigation into Rich. It’s worth noting here that Wheeler never looked at the information on Seth’s laptop, given that he was in police custody as part of a murder investigation.
However, this same theory was later informs Fox News‘Malia Zimmerman (will open in a new tab). An article published May 16, 2017 quoted an anonymous federal investigator as saying to Fox News, “I have seen and read emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks.” The far-right organization News later dropped the story seven days later. statement (will open in a new tab)they acknowledged that the story “was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny that we demand for all of our reporting.”
Reacting to the denial, Brad Bauman, spokesman for the Rich family, said: business insider (will open in a new tab): “The family would like to thank Fox News for debunking a story that has caused deep pain and suffering to the family and damaged Seth Rich’s legacy.”
In November 2020, Seth’s parents Mary and Joel accepted a private settlement from Fox News (will open in a new tab) following a lawsuit over the article in May 2017. In a statement, they shared that they “sincerely hope that the media will exercise sincere caution in the future.”
As for the leaked Democratic Party emails via WikiLeaks? Mueller Report (will open in a new tab) — which studied Russian interference during the 2016 elections — found that these emails came from an individual known as “Guccifer 2.0 GRU.” They were sent four days after Seth’s assassination on 14 July.
In a statement following the release of the report, Aaron Rich said it provided “hard facts to show that this conspiracy is false.”
New: Seth Rich’s brother Aaron Rich releases statement following Mueller’s findings: “I hope the people who have promoted, fueled, distributed, published headlines, articles, interviews, talk shows and opinion pieces… take responsibility for the unimaginable pain they caused us.” pic.twitter.com/88HfFGlN2zApril 19, 2019
Fact versus fiction
“The detectives were looking through Seth Rich’s laptop for information because of all these conspiracy theories,” says Keith L. Alexander. (will open in a new tab) from the Washington Post. “They didn’t find anything. They didn’t find anything on that computer that would even suggest that Seth Rich might have died as a result of anything more than a random robbery.”
He added that some conspiracy theorists continue to question the robbery claim because items such as Seth’s wallet and watch were left on his body. But he has an answer to that: “It was a failed robbery because he fought back.”
Video of the week: