Rudy Giuliani boosts bogus and Seth Rich conspiracy theory linked to Russia
After Seth Rich, a 27-year-old employee of the Democratic National Committee was murdered in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2016, far-right conspiracy theorists claimed that he was killed by Hillary Clinton in retaliation for leaking stolen Democratic e-mails to WikiLeaks. But the local investigators overseeing the case have always believed that Rich was the victim of a street robbery gone wrong, and there was no evidence to support the wild hypotheses about his death.
Conspiracy theorists nevertheless continue to be obsessed with Rich’s murder, and on Monday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani promoted a tweet by conspiracy theorist Matt Couch discussing the killing.
Although Couch didn’t mention Rich by name in his tweet, it was obvious that Rich was who he was referring to. Couch posted, “I was walking home on a hot July night in 2016. I was shot multiple times in torso. I worked for the DNC…. Who am I?” And Giuliani responded, “I’d like to know.”
Contacted by the Daily Beast, Giuliani said of his tweet, “I didn’t support any conspiracy theory. I raised several nagging coincidences…. I vaguely remember it and was asking a question about whether it was ever investigated fully.”
Rich’s family has asked conspiracy theorists to let him rest in peace. But Giuliani told the Beast that there are still “legitimate questions” about Rich’s death that need to be asked.
The conspiracy theory that Rich was killed by assassins working for Clinton, according to Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff, originated with the Russian intelligence agency SVR — which, Isikoff reported on July 9, issued a bogus “bulletin” on July 13, 2016 (three days after Rich was killed) that was made to look like a real intelligence report.
I’d like to know. https://t.co/fofqX2S6N7— Rudy W. Giuliani (@Rudy W. Giuliani) 1566795017
“The purported details in the SVR account seemed improbable on their face: that Rich, a data director in the DNC’s voter protection division, was on his way to alert the FBI to corrupt dealings by Clinton when he was slain in the early hours of a Sunday morning by the former secretary of state’s hit squad,” Isikoff reported.
According to Isikoff, Deborah Sines (the former U.S. attorney put in charge of Rich’s case) denounced the SVR “bulletin” as nonsense. Isikoff, in his July 9 article, quotes Sines as saying, “To me, having a foreign intelligence agency set up one of my decedents with lies and planting false stories — to me, that’s pretty outrageous.”
In 2018, Couch was sued for defamation by Rich’s brother, Aaron Rich, because of claims that Seth Rich helped steal Democratic e-mails and was paid by WikiLeaks for the files.