The timing of Rich's murder — July 10, 2016 — and the publishing of emails written by the upper echelons of the DNC later in the month by DC Leaks and WikiLeaks, fueled conspiracy theories that Rich was killed for having leaked the information.
The Washington Times op-ed, published on March 1, is now the second piece of reporting to be retracted by a mainstream conservative media company on the Seth Rich case. Fox News retracted a story on May 23, 2017. For that piece, they sourced from "independent investigator" Rod Wheeler, who was actually a paid Fox News contributor. The network had previously — all the way back in 2007 — issued a correction after Wheeler claimed on "The O'Reilly Factor" that underground lesbian gangs with pink guns were raping young girls and committing crimes all over the country.
The Washington Times piece — which is no longer available on their website but still accessible in part, unsurprisingly, on InfoWars and in full via the Internet Archive — proclaimed that Rich was "clearly" not "a victim of robbery," as police say he was.
It also connected Rich's murder to another crime committed the same day in another part of the city, which the op-ed claimed was in the "vicinity": the theft of guns and ammunition from an FBI agent's car. The op-ed posed such questions as: "was the FBI gun used to shoot Seth Rich?"
But the majority of the article's claims are not mentioned in the paper's statement on their retraction. That's potentially because the news organization only took back the op-ed after settling on undisclosed terms with Seth Rich's brother, Aaron Rich.
The claims withdrawn include that the Rich brothers downloaded the DNC emails and were paid by WikiLeaks after they handed the messages over to the organization, as well as that law enforcement has not interviewed Aaron.
Of the first charge, the newspaper said they no longer have "any basis to believe any part of that statement to be true." Of the latter, they now understand "that law enforcement officials have interviewed" Aaron Rich.
"The Washington Times apologizes to Mr. Rich and his family," the paper wrote.