In Brief

Newt Gingrich spreads conspiracy theory about Democrat murder

Former House speaker pushes unsubstantiated claims that Seth Rich gave information to WikiLeaks

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a stalwart supporter of Donald Trump, has spread a conspiracy theory that Democratic National Committee (DNC) staff member Seth Rich was murdered after handing emails to WikiLeaks.

Speaking on Fox News yesterday, he said: "We have this very strange story now of this young man who worked for the Democratic National Committee, who apparently was assassinated at four in the morning, having given WikiLeaks something like 53,000 emails and 17,000 attachments."

Rich, 27, was shot dead as he walked home in Washington DC on 10 July last year.

The claim "that Rich could have been murdered for leaking that information has long been a popular right-wing theory," says the Chicago Tribune.

On Friday, the Russian embassy in the UK accused the media of looking the other way. Russian agents have been accused of hacking into the Democrats' email systems and passing the information to WikiLeaks.

According to the Washington Post, police investigating Rich's killing, which remains one of many unsolved murder cases in the city, have found no evidence that he contacted WikiLeaks.

However, Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler last week claimed he had "new evidence" that the DNC worker was the source of the leaked emails.

"By Thursday, after follow-up questioning from CNN and NBC News, Wheeler had largely recanted his story," says the Washington Post.

Rich's family deny the accusations and have threatened Wheeler with legal action if he continues to discuss the case.

Family spokesman Brad Bauman said: "Anyone who continues to push this fake news story after it was so thoroughly debunked is proving to the world they have a transparent political agenda or are a sociopath."

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