Federal judge orders FBI to release contents of Seth Rich’s laptop
By Thomas Lifson
The murder of DNC employee Seth Rich on July 10, 2016, has long aroused wariness on the part of people who suspected that he was the leaker of emails highly embarrassing to the Democrats, especially since Wikileaks founder Julian Assange suggested that a DNC insider was the source of the emails published by Wikileaks. Rich’s death was officially labeled by police the result of a failed robbery – nothing was stolen from him – and suspicions that anything more than robbery was involved in his death have been labeled “conspiracy theories.” Rich’s family has successfully sued and received apologies and settlements from several parties, including Fox News, for allegations about his death.
But the behavior of the FBI has continued to raise suspicions. ABC News reported in 2017, “FBI is not involved in Seth Rich case despite 'conspiracy theories,' officials say”, but subsequent FOIA lawsuits by Brian Huddleston, represented by attorney Ty Clevenger, have revealed this to be fake news. Clevenger was even at first told by the FBI that it didn’t have any information on Rich, but his FOIA lawsuit proved that incorrect. via Linkedin
Zachary Stieber of the Epoch Times reported last April:
The FBI has produced 68 pages relating to a Democratic National Committee (DNC) worker who was shot dead in 2016 in Washington, including an investigative summary that appears to suggest that someone could have paid for his death.
Seth Rich, who had been the DNC’s voter expansion data director, was shot dead in the early morning hours on July 16, 2016, near his home in the nation’s capital.
The slaying, which remains unsolved, fueled widespread media coverage, especially after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange suggested that Rich was the WikiLeaks source for the leaked 2016 presidential campaign DNC emails. Rich’s family has called that notion a conspiracy theory.
The newly released files show that top Department of Justice officials met in 2018 and discussed Rich’s murder. They reviewed Rich’s financial records and didn’t identify any unusual deposits or withdrawals. (snip)
During the litigation, the FBI admitted for the first time that it had come into possession of files from Rich’s laptop. (snip)
On another page, it was said that “given [redacted] it is conceivable that an individual or group would want to pay for his death.”
“That doesn’t sound like a random street robbery,” Ty Clevenger, a lawyer, told The Epoch Times.
But the FBI continued to withhold information from Rich’s laptop, and yesterday, the same reporter wrote:
I have no idea if Mr. Rich’s death was a simple robbery or something more. But the FBI, which has lost my trust, is behaving as if it has something to hide.The FBI must produce information from Seth Rich’s laptop computer to a Texas man, a federal judge ruled on Sept. 29.
The bureau improperly withheld the information from Brian Huddleston, the Texas man, according to a 53-page ruling from U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant.
Rich was a Democratic National Committee staffer who was murdered around 4:20 a.m. in July 2016 in Washington. Officials have claimed the killing was done as part of a botched robbery.
The FBI has acknowledged it has files from Rich’s computer but tried withholding them from Huddleston, citing a portion of federal law that enables agencies to withhold information that would be a clear invasion of privacy interests when the interests are not outweighed by the public interest.
The bureau said that Rich’s family members have a privacy interest in preventing the release of the information that outweighs the public interest, but Mazzant, an Obama appointee, rejected the argument.
“The Court is not persuaded by the FBI’s argument that Seth Rich’s survivors have a privacy interest in withholding the entirety of the information contained on Seth Rich’s laptop,” he said.
“Pointedly, the FBI cites to no case law for the proposition that survivors of the deceased have a privacy interest in information related to the deceased’s favorite music or relationship history,” he added. (snip)
The bureau falsely told Clevenger when he asked for information on Rich that it didn’t possess any. Emails disclosed in a separate case proved the FBI wrong. The bureau identified some potentially responsive 20,000 files in response to Huddleston’s requests, later narrowing it down to 1,563 pages.
The FBI has only produced 75 pages to date, while withholding hundreds of others.
Hat tip: Ron Wright