Right-wing conspiracy theories have arisen after a young Democratic National Committee staffer was murdered last year. A spokesman for the family said Tuesday that a conservative businessman had paid for a private investigation into the unsolved slaying.
According to NBC News, Dallas-based financial adviser Ed Butowsky contacted the parents of Seth Rich and urged them to hire a private investigator to look into the murder of their 27-year-old son. Rich was shot to death last July. Police had called it a robbery gone wrong. Butowsky is a Fox News regular who has also written articles for Breitbart News. Butowsky offered to cover the fees in addition to connecting the family with an investigator, according to Brad Bauman, spokesman for the family.
The Rich family hired the Butowsky’s recommended detective, Rod Wheeler. Wheeler is not only a former D.C. homicide detective but a Fox News contributor. Last month he tweeted a photo of himself at the White House captioned, "Doing my part to Make America Great Again!!" In 2007, Wheeler warned viewers that an underground networks of pink pistol-toting lesbian gangs were raping women during a Fox News appearance.
Now, Wheeler is agreeing with conspiracy theorists regarding Rich’s death. Conspiracy theories include fears that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks before his murder, according to NBC News. Wheeler said on Monday there was evidence to support that claim.
But, police and Rich’s family dispute the theory.
"We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence," the Rich family said in a statement Tuesday. "The services of the private investigator who spoke to press was offered to the Rich family and paid for by a third party, and contractually was barred from speaking to press or anyone outside of law enforcement or the family unless explicitly authorized by the family."
A current FBI official and a former one completely discount the claim that a computer belonging to Rich contained thousands of e-mails to and from WikiLeaks. According to NBC, police never even gave the FBI Rich's laptop to analyze after his murder. A former law enforcement official who claims to have seen the contents of Rich’s computer stated, "It never contained any e-mails related to WikiLeaks, and the FBI never had it.”
Wikileaks Founder Jullian Assange has offered a $20,000 reward for information regarding Rich's murder.