Pundit says he will respect wishes of Seth Rich's family, but then tweets, 'Not only am I not stopping, I am working harder'

By Derek Lawrence
May 23, 2017 at 06:51 PM EDT
Credit: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

UPDATE: After promising viewers that he would have more to say on his Fox News show about the death of Seth Rich, Sean Hannity vowed during his show Tuesday night that “out of respect” for the family, he would not discuss the conspiracy theory surrounding the murdered DNC staffer.

“I totally completely understand how upset, how hard it is on this family,” he said, noting he had been in contact with Rich’s family. “As a father, when I saw the video of the parents online saying they want answers… it truly pained me. However, out of respect for the family’s wishes, for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.”

However, soon after the show, the controversial political commentator wrote on Twitter, “Ok TO BE CLEAR, I am closer to the TRUTH than ever. Not only am I not stopping, I am working harder. Updates when available. Stay tuned!”

Earlier, Hannity had been promoting the theory that Rich was murdered because he was the source of the DNC leaks; Fox News retracted the story, and in a Washington Post op-ed, Rich’s parents asked for people to stop politicizing their son’s death.

Hannity responded on Twitter, writing, “As a father this really tears at my heart. … Know this, I will pursue the truth wherever it may lead, 4 justice.”

After his show aired Tuesday, Rich’s family issued a statement, per CNN, thanking Hannity for “respecting their wishes by not giving a venue to conspiracy theorists which would only prolong the pain and anguish they have felt over the past week, and many months since Seth’s murder.”

EARLIER: Despite pleas from the victim’s family and a retraction from Fox News, Sean Hannity refuses to back down from reporting on an unfounded conspiracy theory regarding the July death of Democratic National Convention staffer Seth Rich.

Last Tuesday, Fox News ran a story that suggested Rich’s unsolved murder was tied to him contacting Wikileaks ahead of the DNC leaks in July. After great scrutiny, including the alleged source for the article disputing the claims, a week later, Fox posted a retraction on its website.

“On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed. We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.”

The retraction hasn’t been adhered to by one of the network’s most high-profile employees. Sean Hannity has been extremely vocal in spreading the theory that Rich’s death was retaliation for his possible involvement with Wikileaks (according to CNN, police say there’s evidence suggesting a botched robbery). This prompted Rich’s brother to write a letter asking Hannity to stop making “baseless accusations.”

Yet, Hannity is doing the opposite and continuing to push the story. On Tuesday, during his radio program, he insisted he must ask these questions, adding, “I will do the mainstream media’s job like I have for most of my career.” He concluded, “And all you in the liberal media, I am not Fox.com or FoxNews.com — I retracted nothing.”

This echoes the thoughts he has been sharing on Twitter, where he contends, “I’m trying to find the truth,” and has urged his followers to read Kim Dotcom, who has been central to fueling the conspiracy. Hannity has also promised a “huge announcement” about Rich and his own future at Fox on Tuesday’s edition of his Fox News show Hannity.