The special advocate's report confirmed this week that Seth Rich, a young employee of the Democratic National Committee whose unsolved assassinations were a strong argument for a right-wing conspiracy theory, was not the source of thousands of crimes. internal. e-mails that WikiLeaks published during the 2016 presidential race, officially demystifying a notion that had been unsupported for years.
Hidden amidst hundreds of pages of the report's key findings, the special advocate, Robert S. Mueller III, went to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, for falsely hinting that Mr. Rich was involved in one way or another in the dissemination of emails. act that helped President Trump's campaign.
"WikiLeaks and Assange have made several public statements apparently designed to hide the source of the documents released by WikiLeaks," according to the report, which shows that WikiLeaks corresponds to the true source of emails disclosed – Russian hackers – after the death of Mr. Rich. .
This confirmation comes after years of anguish for Mr. Rich's family, who tried to politicize and spread false information about his murder, which allegedly occurred during a robbery attempt.
The theory linking Mr. Rich to e-mail leakage has taken root in conservative circles and has been cited by prominent curators such as Newt Gingrich and right-wing commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Alex Jones of Infowars. Wikileaks offered a $ 20,000 reward for information on Mr. Rich's murder, fueling the speculation that he was the source. Fox News also published an article, which the network later removed, suggesting that Rich had been killed in retaliation for disclosing the emails.
In A declarationMr. Rich's brother, Aaron Rich, responded to the special advocate's report by stating that he provided "concrete evidence that this plot is false".
"I hope that people who have pushed, fed, aired, made headlines, articles, interviews, interviews and public opinion shows, or used in any way the tragedy of my family to advance their political agenda – despite our assertions that their statements were not based on all facts – will take responsibility for the unimaginable pain they have caused us, "he said. .
Mr. Rich was 27 years old when he died after being shot in the streets of Washington on July 10, 2016.
On July 14, WikiLeaks received an encrypted file of Russian hackers, according to the report. The organization has published thousands of internal publications of D.N.C. emails later in the month, just days before the Democratic convention
"This timeline is overwhelming," said Mike Gottlieb, Aaron Rich's lawyer, pointing out that Mr. Rich had already been killed when sending the case.
In statements beginning this summer, Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks "implicitly claimed" that Mr. Rich was the source of the emails, according to the report of the special council.
In addition to the $ 20,000 reward, Assange said in an interview that he was interested in the death of Mr. Rich because "we are very interested in anything that could pose a threat to the alleged sources of WikiLeaks," according to the report.
Even after intelligence officials announced that Russia was behind the hacking of email, Assange continued to deny Russia's involvement and informed a congressman that the D.C.N. Piracy was an "internal job", according to the report.
"Assange has inflicted considerable damage on a bereaved family in order to hide his work from the Russian intelligence services," said Brad Bauman, a former spokesman for Mr. Rich's family, in a statement issued after the publication. of the report.
"He's a monster, not a journalist," he added.
Assange, whose publication of secret government documents sparked a debate on press freedom issues, spent seven years in the British Embassy in Ecuador before being arrested this month. for conspiracy to hack a computer network of the Pentagon in 2010. The charge is not related to the role played by WikiLeaks in Russia's election sabotage operations.
Although Mr. Rich's murder has still not been resolved, the Special Council's findings may begin to soothe the grief of his family, who has described the anguish of having to see his life and death treated as political football ".
His parents, Joel and Mary Rich, Fox News continued last year, claiming that the network's coverage had fueled damaging rumors about their son. A judge, while expressing sympathy for the family, dismissed the case without further action because the parents had not been personally defamed by the story even though it included "false statements or false statements ". The judge pointed out that Mr. Rich could not be defamed by history under New York law because he was dead.
Aaron Rich also pursues for slander the theories that imply him falsely, claiming that he helped steal the data and conceal the murder of his brother. He accepted an apology and a retraction from the Washington Times last year as part of a settlement.
Mr. Gottlieb, his attorney, stated that while it was gratifying for his client to see the Mueller report put an end to all conspiracy theories, Mr. Rich was still struggling with the loss of his brother, who was the best man of his marriage. .
"The picture of Seth and Aaron at Aaron's wedding is one that many conspiracy theorists have used as memes," he said.
"Aaron has been called a traitor," said Gottlieb. "We call him every imaginable terrible name you can think of and he has never had the opportunity to mourn."
In his statement, Aaron Rich vowed to keep fighting.
"We will continue to pursue justice for the murderers of Seth," he said, "as well as for those who used his assassination to advance their personal or political agenda."