By Liz Crokin
A manager of the Washington, D.C., bar where Democratic National Committee worker Seth Rich was last spotted hours before he was shot and killed last summer told WND that D.C. police officers never interviewed the bar’s staff or requested any evidence from the bar, including the bar’s surveillance video from that night, as part of an investigation into Rich’s murder.
The revelation backs up a claim made by a private investigator who worked on the case who said D.C. police were told to “stand down” on the investigation.
WND also can report that the investigator recently was ordered to “cease and desist” his work on the murder case.
“The police never asked for the surveillance video from that night,” a manager of Lou’s City Bar told WND.
His name is being withheld for this story.
He said the bar’s surveillance video runs in a cycle of 30 days and that, by now, any footage that may have existed of Rich the last night he was seen alive has been taped over.
Furthermore, the manager said police never asked for any other kind of evidence from the bar such as Rich’s bar receipt from that night. The manager did note he wasn’t sure if Rich paid using a credit card or cash.
The manager also said he’s not aware of the police ever interviewing any of the bar’s staff members as part of their investigation into Rich’s murder.
“The only time that I talked to police was during the memorial for Seth,” the manager said, noting that those conversations were more casual and friendly.
He did not believe the conversations were part of official police interviews regarding Rich’s murder investigation.
The statements back up a claim by private investigator Rod Wheeler – a retired D.C. police detective who was hired to independently investigate Rich’s murder – that police were told to stand down on Rich’s murder investigation.
Wheeler told FOX 5: “I have a source inside the police department that has looked at me straight in the eye and said, ‘Rod, we were told to stand down on this case and I can’t share any information with you.’ Now, that is highly unusual for a murder investigation, especially from a police department.”
Wheeler has also suggested that Rich could have been the insider source who leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks.
He cites an anonymous federal investigator who has claimed to have proof Rich sent thousands of DNC emails to WikiLeaks.
Now Rich’s family has asked Wheeler to stop working on the case, according to a WND source close to the situation.
“He’s been told to cease and desist,” the source said.
Furthermore, the source said Rich’s family ordered that Wheeler not talk about any aspect of the case to anyone.
“It’s really unfortunate he’s been taken off the case, because Rod truly believes he was very close to solving this murder,” the source said. “Rod is not a political person – he genuinely just wanted to find out who murdered Seth. He doesn’t care if it’s a Republican or a Democrat – he just wants to get the truth out there.”
Rich’s family members have not spoken publicly about Rich’s death in months.
Instead, professional Democratic crisis consultant Brad Bauman, from the Pastorum Group, has been speaking on the family’s behalf.
Bauman has emphasized that he and the Rich family want police to get to the bottom of Rich’s case regardless of where it leads. However, he blasted Wheeler for suggesting publicly any suspicion of the DNC’s involvement.
The Rich family is “devastated” Wheeler has not ruled out a WikiLeaks connection, Bauman said.
“Every single time a story is reported, it is just hearsay, it is lies, it is politically driven or politically motivated hearsay,” Bauman said. “And it actually causes the opposite of what everyone wants. It causes the inability for the police and for independent investigators to figure out what actually happened.”
The source said that since Wheeler spoke to the press about some of his findings, he has received a ton of backlash.
“Rod wishes that he never got involved in this case in the first place,” the source said. “He did not know that there would be such a big political component involved with this case or that there would be such backlash directed at him for trying to do a good deed.”
The source said Wheeler was just trying to do right by the family and find justice for Rich. Even though Wheeler’s no longer allowed to investigate or discuss the case with anyone, the source said he hopes others continue to look into this case and report on it.
WND calls to Rich’s family were not answered or returned. And a relative close to Rich’s girlfriend, Kelsey Mulka, said she is not interested in talking to the media, either.
“She’s devastated,” the relative said of Mulka. “Can you imagine what she’s gone through? She just wants this to go away and to be left alone.”
Despite reports of fights at Lou’s City Bar the night that Rich died, the manager said he’s not aware of anything that happened that was out of the ordinary that night. He said he’s extremely saddened by Rich’s untimely death.
“He was the nicest guy in the world,” the manager said. “If someone gave me trouble in the bar, Seth would be standing right there defending me.”
The manager said Lou’s City Bar held a memorial for Rich.
He said Rich could not have come from a better family.
“They’re wonderful people,” he said. “I wish I could’ve done something to save him.”
WND reported earlier on Bauman’s dissatisfaction with Wheeler’s comments about the case.
Those criticisms followed Wheeler’s statement that he had just learned from Rich’s family that the DNC contacted them about the case.
“How did that DNC person know I had called the police? That is what is baffling me,” Wheeler said. “I just found out from [Rich’s] family that the DNC knew I contacted the police – they hadn’t told me that all this time.”
Bauman blasted him: “I don’t think at this point, given Detective Wheeler’s lack of credibility – that I am going to dignify any accusations that he makes with any sort of discussion, I’m sorry.”
Anyone who believes Rich may have leaked DNC emails “deserve a place in hell,” Bauman said angrily.
WND also has reported on the eerie similarities between Rich’s death and several deaths of individuals linked to former President Bill Clinton and twice failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Just as in the Rich case, several of the people who died mysterious deaths were shot spontaneously and in public places, sometimes from behind, sometimes by unknown assailants and often just before they were set to release incriminating evidence concerning the Clintons’ activities. In most cases, there were no signs of theft at the crime scenes. And while some of the deaths were ruled suicides, other cases remain a mystery.
As WND reported, Rich was murdered July 10, 2016, near his affluent neighborhood in Washington, D.C. He was shot in the back with a handgun at 4:18 a.m. while he walked home, and nothing was taken from him. Rich, who called several people as he later walked home, was talking on the phone with his girlfriend, Mulka, when he was accosted a block from his house. He was transported to a local hospital and was pronounced dead at 5:57 a.m.
On July 22, just 12 days after Rich’s death and days before the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks released 20,000 emails from DNC officials.
The leaked emails revealed, among other things, that the DNC tried to tip the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and prevent Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders from becoming the party’s nominee. The leaks were cited by some Democrats as one explanation for Clinton’s election loss. Many accused the Russians of “hacking” and turning the tide for Donald Trump.
In one email released by WikiLeaks, Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta said he would like to “make an example” out of the person who leaked the emails.
“I’m definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it,” Podesta wrote on Feb. 22, 2015, according to WikiLeaks.
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