Murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was likely treated at one of two hospitals near the Washington, D.C., intersection where police found him shot in the back in July 2016, but those hospitals are refusing to answer any media questions about the unsolved crime.
The press contacted MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Howard University Hospital – two hospitals located within a one- to two-mile radius of the 2100 block of Flagler Place NW, where Rich was shot in the early hours of July 10, 2016. Howard University Hospital is three blocks east of the shooting site, and MedStar Washington Hospital Center is less than two miles to the north.
When press sought an interview with hospital officials and a media representatives of MedStar Washington Hospital Center, administrators refused to answer questions and instead summoned security guards.
MedStar’s director of media relations, So Young Pak, would not confirm whether Rich was treated at the hospital. Pak also said the hospital cannot release information about any patient and cited the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, also known as HIPAA.
“I am not permitted to reveal any information about any patient of this hospital, whether that patient is living or deceased,” Pak told press.
“Journalists are not permitted in any hospital in the nation unless escorted by a director of media relations.”
Pressed to merely confirm whether Rich was admitted and treated at MedStar, Pak said, “All information is subject to federal privacy laws, and thus we cannot respond to the question.”
Howard University Hospital also declined to respond to multiple requests for confirmation that Rich was treated in its facility.
Instead, Howard University spokesman Sholnn Freeman told media, “Um, I’m not prepared to answer this right now.”
When inquired about whether Freeman would have the information at a later time, he simply replied, “You can follow up with me.”
Government watchdog group Judicial Watch confirmed that filing Freedom of Information Act requests with the hospitals would be unproductive, particularly when dealing with private medical facilities, due to strict patient privacy regulations.
As we reported, Jack Burkman, the head of the Profiling Project investigative team, filed a lawsuit Wednesday to push the Metropolitan Police Department to release information in the Rich case, including the medical examiner’s report, video footage of the shooting and ballistics reports. In the past, the department has regularly released surveillance video related to unsolved criminal investigations and often posts footage of persons of interest on its YouTube account. However, police have not released any footage related to the Rich murder case.
“MPD has released 12 videos in the last week alone, to include unsolved murder investigations,” media reported Tuesday.
“Their habit of transparency with unsolved cases raises the question as to why they’ve been so tight-lipped about the Rich case.”
Rich was murdered in his affluent neighborhood in Washington. He was shot in the back multiple times with a handgun at 4:18 a.m. a block from his home, and although the police reported it as a robbery, nothing was taken from him. He was transported to an unidentified local hospital and was pronounced dead at 5:57 a.m. On July 22, just 12 days after Rich’s death and days before the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks released 20,000 emails from DNC officials.
A police report issued by the Metropolitan Police Department (full report included at the end of this article) indicates that Rich was “conscious and breathing” when law-enforcement authorities arrived on the scene. However, the report doesn’t name the hospital where Rich was treated or name the physician at the hospital who pronounced Rich dead. The report states:
CIC reports the sound of gunshots at 2134 Flagler Pl. NW.
Upon arriving to the scene, the decedent was laying in the Southwest corner of the intersection of W. St. and Flagler Pl. NW.
The decedent was conscious and breathing with apparent gunshot wound(s) to the back.
The decedent was transported to local area hospital and was pronounced dead by attending physician at 0557 hours.
The Metropolitan Police Department and Washington, D.C., mayor’s office maintain that Rich was killed during an attempted robbery, even though the murderers left behind his wallet, credit cards and other valuables.
One America News, a budding independent TV news company, reported that Rich was alive and talking to police and EMTs before being hospitalized, raising questions about what he may have been able to tell them. If he told them it was a botched robbery, that evidence has not been made public. Rich’s murder is one of 65 unsolved cases in D.C. from 2016. His was the only murder last year in the quiet, well-to-do Bloomingdale neighborhood. There have been a total of five homicides in Bloomingdale since 2012, according to the Twitter feed DCHomicideCount.
Meanwhile, Americans have been hunting for clues and searching for answers to a myriad of questions surrounding the unsolved murder. Rumors and speculation are running wild in online chat rooms, social media and websites. Some social media users have even speculated that Rich was killed at a D.C. hospital.
One America News reported that the attending physician who treated Rich was Dr. Jack Sava, a donor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, who visited the White House six times before the day of Seth Rich’s murder. Dr. Sava is in a relationship with Lisa Kountoupes, a lobbyist for the DNC in 2016 who reportedly visited the White House 23 times during that same time period. They both reportedly visited the East Wing, reserved for then-first lady Michelle Obama and her staff.
WikiLeaks emails reveal Kountoupes co-hosted a Feb. 22, 2016, fundraiser with Tony and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 national campaign chairman. Kountoupes and Dr. Sava were also listed on a guest list attached to a Feb. 7, 2016, email to John Podesta. Kountoupes is listed among Clinton Foundation contributors in the $10,0001-$25,000 donation bracket.