Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich fueled a conspiracy theory on Sunday that Democratic National Committee staff member Seth Rich was killed during the 2016 presidential campaign to hide how WikiLeaks obtained emails hacked from the Democratic Party.
"We have this very strange story now of this young man who worked for the Democratic National Committee, who apparently was assassinated at 4 in the morning, having given WikiLeaks something like 53,000 emails and 17,000 attachments," Gingrich said on "Fox and Friends," according to the Washington Post.
"Nobody's investigating that, and what does that tell you about what's going on? Because it turns out, it wasn't the Russians. It was this young guy who, I suspect, was disgusted by the corruption of the Democratic National Committee. He's been killed, and apparently nothing serious has been done to investigate his murder."
Here's Newt Gingrich pushing more damaging, false conspiracy theories about Seth Rich, says he was "assassinated" https://t.co/J9Q2asehm2 pic.twitter.com/N3Q7bS63ZQ— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 21, 2017
Fox News reported on Tuesday that Rich may have been behind the leak of information from the DNC to WikiLeaks that showed the party favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary.
The report claimed investigators found more than 44,000 emails and almost 18,000 attachments between DNC leaders from January 2015 to May 2016 were sent by Rich to Gavin MacFayden, a reporter and WikiLeaks director who is now dead.
The Rich family pushed back on the report, denying that the 27-year-old DNC staffer leaked the emails.
"As we've seen through the past year of unsubstantiated claims, we see no facts, we have seen no evidence, we have been approached with no emails and only learned about this when contacted by the press," the family said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "Even if tomorrow, an email was found, it is not a high enough bar of evidence to prove any interactions as emails can be altered and we've seen that those interested in pushing conspiracies will stop at nothing to do so."
A former law enforcement officer with knowledge of the investigation into the mysterious death said Rich's laptop had yielded no emails related to WikiLeaks.
"We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth's murderers," the family's statement continued. "The services of the private investigator who spoke to the 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."
Rich was killed when he was shot twice in the back as he walked home last summer. His wallet, cellphone, keys, watch and necklace were left on his body.