WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange implied in an interview that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer was the source of a trove of damaging emails the rogue website posted just days before the party’s convention.
Speaking to Dutch television program Nieuswsuur Tuesday after earlier announcing a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Seth Rich’s killer, Assange said the July 11 murder of Rich in Northwest Washington was an example of the risk leakers undertake.
The 27-year-old man who worked for the Democratic National Committee was shot and killed as he walked home in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C., police and his family said.
Seth Conrad Rich died after he was shot multiple times three blocks east of Howard University Hospital, said members of the Metropolitan Police Department on Sunday, July 11.
The victim’s mother, Mary Rich, said police told her family her son may have been the victim of an attempted robbery.
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement on Monday mourning the death of Rich, who worked as voter expansion data director.
“Our hearts are broken with the loss of one of our DNC family members over the weekend. Seth Rich was a dedicated, selfless public servant who worked tirelessly to protect the most sacred right we share as Americans – the right to vote,” she said. “He saw the great potential of our nation and believed that, together, we can make the world a better place,” said Wasserman Schultz, who is having political problems of her own thanks to a Wikileaks document dump.
Meanwhile, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton spoke about Rich: “Just this past Sunday, a young man, Seth Rich — who worked for the Democratic National Committee, to expand voting rights — was shot and killed in his neighborhood in Washington. He was just 27 years old,” she said.
“Surely we can agree that weapons of war have no place on the streets of America,” Clinton added, even though police didn’t identify the weapon in the few news reports on the killing.
“[Police officers] did not release any information on the type of weapon the shooter may have used so it’s not known how Clinton knew it was a ‘weapon of war?'” said police forensic expert Saul Levinson.
He was talking on the phone with his girlfriend when she heard noise on Rich’s end of the line, Mary Rich said. Her son told his girlfriend not to worry about it.
“There had been a struggle. His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything,” she said.
“Police are calling it an attempted robbery gone wrong, but once the victim was shot dead, they had sufficient time to empty his pockets, which they didn’t. They took nothing but Rich’s life,” said Levinson
“They hurt the community, and they hurt the long-term possibility of what he could have done. They took his life for literally no reason. They didn’t finish robbing him, they just took his life,” Mary Rich said during a press briefing.
Rich lived in the neighborhood, Acting Capt. Anthony Haythe of the Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide branch said at a news conference Monday morning.
Fifth District police officers were patrolling the area about 4:20 a.m. when they heard gunshots, police said.
When police arrived on Flagler Place, they found Rich suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Police have no witnesses and are searching the area for surveillance video footage, Haythe said. The acting captain said he could not comment on whether the killing was related to recent robberies in the area.
Rich worked for the Democratic National Committee, his father said. He graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and previously worked on Democrats’ campaigns, for the U.S. Census Bureau and as a boating instructor at a summer camp, according to his LinkedIn page.
“I have an enormous interest in public service and working towards making the world a better place,” Rich wrote on the page.
Seth Conrad Rich was the Voter Expansion Data Director at the DNC and had been working on exposing the recent cases of election fraud and voter suppression during the recent primaries around the country, according to his LinkedIn.com listing. Some Internet web sites that cover politics have said Rich was a whistleblower who discovered irregularities in Democratic Party voting patterns.