WASHINGTON (JTA) — The family of a Jewish Democratic National Committee staffer killed last month asked for an end to “unproven and harmful theories” about their son’s death.
The family of Seth Rich came out with a statement on Thursday, two days after WikiLeaks offered a $20,000 award for information leading to the conviction of his killer. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in an interview on Netherlands TV suggested that Rich, 27, may have been a source for the leaks clearinghouse, reigniting conspiracy theories.
“The family welcomes any and all information that could lead to the identification of the individuals responsible, and certainly welcomes contributions that could lead to new avenues of investigation,” said the statement from Brad Bauman, a Rich family spokesman, provided Wednesday to Business Insider.
“That said, 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.
“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 statement said.
WikiLeaks has been harshly critical of Hillary Clinton’s presidential run and last month posted hacked DNC emails that led to the resignation of top party staffers. Its reward and Assange’s suggestions appeared linked to conspiracy theories circulating on the internet, unbacked by evidence, that Rich was set to expose misdoings by Clinton and/or the Democratic Party to the FBI.
One of the chief purveyors of the theories is Roger Stone, a provocateur who until last year was an adviser to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Stone said in a speech Monday that he was in touch with Assange about releasing documents that could damage the Clinton campaign.
Police have said that Rich, a Nebraska native who was killed in Washington, D.C., while walking home before dawn on July 10, was possibly the victim of a robbery gone awry.