The family of Seth Rich, a slain former Democratic National Committee staffer, responded to a new lawsuit that may shed light on the source of conspiracy theories about Rich’s death.
On Tuesday, former Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler sued the network, alleging that it and a well-connected supporter of President Donald Trump knowingly pushed a thinly-sourced conspiracy theory about Rich’s death to deflect from growing concerns about Trump’s potential ties to Russia.
In a statement to Business Insider, Rich’s family said it hoped the lawsuit puts an end to the various conspiracy theories swirling around Rich’s death last year.
“While we can’t speak to the evidence that you now have, we are hopeful that this brings an end to what has been the most emotionally difficult time in our lives and an end to conspiracy theories surrounding our beloved Seth,” the family said in a statement.
Wheeler, a former Metropolitan Police Department officer, was a key figure in a series of debunked stories claiming that Rich had been in contact with Wikileaks before his death. Fox News, which reported the story online and on television, retracted it in June.
Police have said repeatedly that Rich was shot during an attempted robbery while he was walking home from a bar in Washington, DC.
Yet the staffer’s death has become the source of wild speculation, as right-wing media figures fanned unproven speculation that Rich was killed for leaking embarrassing internal emails of DNC staffers during the 2016 election. Numerous US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian intelligence hacked and leaked internal DNC communications.