Nearly seven months after publication, the Washington Times retracted an op-ed about Seth Rich, the former Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed in 2016.
The March 1 op-ed, “More cover-up questions: The curious murder of Seth Rich poses questions that just won’t stay under the official rug,” was written by retired Admiral James Lyons. CNN reported that the retraction was “part of a settlement Aaron Rich [Seth’s brother] reached with the Washington Times after he filed a lawsuit against the conservative newspaper.”
The op-ed falsely claimed that the Rich brothers “downloaded the DNC emails,” that WikiLeaks paid them for it, and that Aaron Rich wasn’t interviewed by law enforcement.
The retraction notes that “we now believe to be false” those claims. The Washington Times added that it didn’t “have any basis to believe” the Richs downloaded and sold DNC e-mails. Further, the Times said it didn’t mean “to imply” Aaron Rich “obstructed justice in any way.”
“The Washington Times apologizes to Mr. Rich and his family. All online copies of the Column have been deleted and all online content referencing the Column has been deleted to the extent within The Washington Times’ control,” the Times‘ Sept. 30 retraction stated. iMediaEthics has written to Aaron Rich’s lawyer and the Times for more information.
Seth Rich’s parents sued Fox News previously claiming the right wing television network “sought to take the conspiracy theory from the fringe to the front pages and screens of the mainstream media.” That lawsuit was thrown out.
The full retraction reads:
“The Washington Times published an op-ed column titled, “More cover-up questions: The curious murder of Seth Rich poses questions that just won’t stay under the official rug,” by Adm. James Lyons (Ret.) (the “Column”), on March 1 online and on March 2 in its paper editions. The Column included statements about Aaron Rich, the brother of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, that we now believe to be false.
“One such statement was that: “Interestingly, it is well known in the intelligence circles that Seth Rich and his brother, Aaron Rich, downloaded the DNC emails and was paid by Wikileaks for that information.” The Washington Times now does not have any basis to believe any part of that statement to be true, and The Washington Times retracts it in its entirety.
“The Column also stated: “Also, why hasn’t Aaron Rich been interviewed [by law enforcement], and where is he?” The Washington Times understands that law enforcement officials have interviewed Mr. Rich and that he has cooperated with their investigation. The Washington Times did not intend to imply that Mr. Rich has obstructed justice in any way, and The Washington Times retracts and disavows any such implication.
“The Washington Times apologizes to Mr. Rich and his family. All online copies of the Column have been deleted and all online content referencing the Column has been deleted to the extent within The Washington Times’ control.”