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Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Former Speaker of the House and Fox News pundit Newt Gingrich was among those on the right pushing a wild conspiracy theory that a slain Democratic National Committee staffer was involved in the hacking of the organization’s emails during the 2016 campaign.

With the release of a new Justice Department indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers who are now charged with the attack, CNN reporter Oliver Darcy wanted to know if Gingrich to reflect on the new evidence. Observers had long noted that the Seth Rich conspiracy theory was based on wild speculation with little regard for the facts, and Friday’s indictment shows decisively that top law enforcement officials and a grand jury believe the Russian government is responsible for the cyberattack.

“In light of the Mueller indictments, I called @newtgingrich to see if he would like to apologize to the Seth Rich family for peddling the conspiracy theory that Rich was killed for supposedly leaking the DNC docs to Wikileaks,” Darcy wrote on Twitter.

All he got in response, he said, was the short reply: “No, goodbye!”

The main goal of pushing the conspiracy, it seemed, was to distance President Donald Trump from allegations about Russian interference in the election.

The Rich family had repeatedly asked those pushing the unfounded innuendo at Fox News — most prominently, Sean Hannity — to stop promoting the baseless conspiracy theory. They said the continued speculation was deeply harmful.

In a defamation lawsuit against Fox News over the story, the family said, “The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son’s life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension.”

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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