WASHINGTON – Time is running out quickly in the effort to urge President Trump to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the unsolved murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.
A White House petition calling for a federal investigation will expire on June 18.
The WhiteHouse.gov petition must receive 100,000 signatures to get a response from the White House. So far, it has been signed by more than 66,000 people. At least 34,000 signatures are required by Sunday.
TRENDING: Snake handler
Rich, 27, was a DNC voter expansion data director for two years and had accepted a position with Hillary Clinton's campaign. He was murdered in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 2016, near his apartment in an affluent neighborhood. Rich was shot twice in the back, and his wallet, credit cards, watch and phone were left in his possession. The Metropolitan Police Department has described it as a "botched robbery."
Private investigators, however, have claimed there is evidence Rich was the source WikiLeaks used to obtain thousands of Democratic National Committee emails released on the eve of the party's presidential nominating convention last July. The emails, indicating the party was manipulating the primary race in favor of Hillary Clinton, led to the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Emails revealed by WikiLeaks show the Clinton campaign was concerned about internal leaks. In a February 2015 email, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said he was "definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it."
The leak of DNC documents, which revealed how DNC officials undermined Sanders' chances of winning his party's nomination, prompted outraged Sanders supporters to file class-action lawsuits against the Democratic National Committee and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman, claiming they rigged the election for Clinton.
Harvard law expert Jared Beck, who filed the lawsuit, Wilding et al vs. DNC Services Corporation and Deborah "Debbie" Wasserman-Schultz, on behalf of residents of 45 states against the DNC and its former chairwoman, is demanding the party repay individuals and Sanders supporters for contributions made during the election, alleging misappropriation of funds.
Beck's law firm filed a notice to the United States federal court on June 1, alleging the office of Wasserman Schultz called the law firm inquiring about the case using a "robotic and genderless" voice-changing device – but she reportedly forgot to disable caller ID.
On Tuesday, Beck publicly announced via Facebook livestream that he believes Rich might have been a potential witness in the case.
Beck filed a motion to the court seeking an order of protection, citing the unusual deaths of Rich, DNC lawsuit process server Shawn Lucas and and the late Miami federal prosecutor Beranton Whisenant. (It's unclear what role, if any at all, Whisenant has played in the DNC case.) Beck also cited threats and bizarre phone calls the plaintiffs and counsel say they've received.
"After much consideration and deliberation, we have concluded that it is time to bring these concerns to the court's attention," Beck said in the video. "Today we filed a motion asking Judge William Zloch to provide protection of the plaintiffs, their counsel and their families, as well as all of the witnesses in the DNC fraud lawsuit. In support of this motion, we have cited the following events: the untimely death of our process server Shawn Lucas, the unsolved murder of DNC employee Seth Rich. We believe Mr. Rich might have been a potential witness in this case."
Rich and Lucas are both on WND's list of 33 people associated with the Clintons who have died mysterious and often violent deaths.
In an August 2016 interview on the Dutch television program Nieuwsuur, Assange appeared to suggest that Rich was the source of the WikiLeaks-exposed DNC emails.
"Our whistleblowers go to significant efforts to give us material, at often very significant risks," Assange said. "There was a 27 year old, works for the DNC, who was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons other than that he was walking down the street in Washington."
Asked if Rich was a WikiLeaks source, Assange replied: "We don't comment on who our sources are. We have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States. Our sources are, you know, our sources face serious risks. That's why they come to us, so we can protect their anonymity."
He continued: "Others have suggested that [Rich was murdered]. We are investigating. If you understand what happened in that situation with Seth Rich, I think it is a concerning situation. There's not a conclusion yet. We wouldn't be willing to state a conclusion, but we are concerned about it. More importantly, a variety of WikiLeaks sources are concerned when that kind of thing happens."
Watch the interview:
WikiLeaks issued a $20,000 reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of Rich last August.
WND has launched a GoFundMe campaign to put more resources into investigative reporting, to hire an independent private investigator and to provide rewards for new evidence that leads to the arrest and conviction of Rich's murderer.
The total reward for solving Rich's murder currently stands at approximately a half-million dollars. In addition to WikiLeaks' reward, One America News Network, a conservative-leaning television network that has promoted the White House petition, is offering $100,000. The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is offering $25,000. Businessman and investor Martin Shkreli is offering $100,000. Jack Burkman, the head of a team of investigators searching for Rich's killers, is offering $105,000.
The DNC, however, has offered no money for information leading to the arrest of the murderer of its own young staffer.
Instead, the DNC honored its murdered employee by dedicating a bike rack outside its headquarters to Rich's memory.
For the time being, there are far more questions than answers in the mysterious case of Rich's murder.
As WND reported, emergency responders, along with the Metropolitan Police Department and two local hospitals are refusing to reveal what hospital admitted and treated Rich before a physician pronounced him dead on July 10, 2016.
Furthermore, the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has reportedly refused to release Rich's autopsy report.
A police report issued by the Metropolitan Police Department indicates that Rich was "conscious and breathing" when law-enforcement authorities arrived on the scene. However, the report doesn't name the hospital where Rich was treated or name the physician at the hospital who pronounced Rich dead. The report states:
CIC reports the sound of gunshots at 2134 Flagler Pl. NW. Upon arriving to the scene, the decedent was laying in the Southwest corner of the intersection of W. St. and Flagler Pl. NW. The decedent was conscious and breathing with apparent gunshot wound(s) to the back. The decedent was transported to local area hospital and was pronounced dead by attending physician at 0557 hours.
As WND reported, a manager at Lou's City Bar, the last known location where Rich was seen before his murder, claims police never interviewed the bar's staff or requested evidence, such as footage from security cameras. And police never questioned Rich's DNC co-workers.
Rich's story has been largely ignored by establishment media. Those who have called attention to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the murder have been branded "conspiracy theorists," including Fox News host Sean Hannity.
WND also asked 125 members of Congress to weigh in on the unsolved murder, but not a single U.S. representative has agreed to address the case.
The White House petition, titled "Appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate the murder of Seth Rich, the alleged WikiLeaks email leaker," states:
On July 10, 2016, Seth Rich was shot twice in the early morning as he walked back to his house in Washington D.C. Immediately after the crime, the death was called an armed robbery… but none of Seth Rich's belongings were taken from him.
Rod Wheeler, a private investigator hired by the family, said that there was evidence Seth Rich had contacted WikiLeaks and that law enforcement were covering this up. MSM is not covering this murder, instead pushing it to the side, so it is now up to us.
The facts do not add up, law enforcement stopped covering the crime, and now it is time for us to fight for justice. Seth Rich deserves this.