A federal judge in Texas has mandated the FBI to surrender the personal and work laptops of Seth Rich, a deceased Democratic National Committee staffer.
U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas issued this ruling last week, requiring the FBI to provide a timeline for the disclosure of information from Seth Rich’s personal laptop, his work laptop and associated media within 14 days of the order.
This decision, which gives the FBI until December 12 to disclose the relevant information, is part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) dispute between the FBI and Texas attorney Ty Clevenger, representing Brian Huddleston.
The ruling follows a previous order from September 2022 by Mazzant, instructing the FBI and the Department of Justice to release all information they possess related to Rich’s death. In this earlier ruling, Mazzant criticized the FBI for withholding the contents of Rich’s laptop, dismissing the agency’s argument that this was necessary to protect the privacy of Rich’s parents.
“The FBI has not satisfied its burden of showing more than a de minimis privacy interest that would justify withholding information from Seth Rich’s laptop,” Mazzant wrote. “Accordingly, the Court finds the FBI improperly withheld this information under FOIA, and the Court is thus authorized to order its production.”
Rich’s unsolved murder in July 2016 near his Washington home has led to various conspiracy theories, including accusations of a sinister cover-up by the FBI. Despite being a reported victim of an attempted robbery, Rich’s wallet, credit cards, watch and cellphone were found on his body.
In 2017, Fox News published and later retracted a story suggesting Rich was murdered for allegedly leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks, which purportedly exposed the 2016 Democratic primary as being rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.
Despite numerous FOIA requests, the FBI consistently refused to disclose any information regarding Rich’s murder. Radar Online reported in September 2022 that Huddleston’s initial FOIA request in 2017 sought information on Rich’s potential involvement in the DNC email leaks. The FBI initially claimed to have no relevant files but later admitted to possessing over 20,000 pages of potentially relevant material, with 1,596 pages directly related to Rich, though 1,496 of these were withheld due to FOIA exemptions.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.