During the election season, a shadowy persona appeared online calling himself ‘Guccifer 2.0’ and claiming to be the source of Democratic National Committee emails that were being published by WikiLeaks.
In a now-public direct message conversation with model Robbin Young, the flirty “hacker” claimed that his source was Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who was murdered around the time when the leaks began.
In the early morning hours of July 10, 2016, the 25-year-old Director of Voter Expansion was shot multiple times in the back. Rich’s murder was quickly ruled a failed robbery, but his wallet and watch remained on his body. The only thing that appeared to be taken was his life.
Almost immediately after news broke of his killing, rumors and speculation that he was the source of the emails leaked to the controversial publisher flooded the internet.
The leaks appeared to show the party conspiring against Hillary Clinton’s opponent Bernie Sanders, leading many to speculate that that leaks were from an upset supporter of the Vermont senator — and that the disenchanted staffer may have been Rich.
The Wikileaks theory gained even more traction after WikiLeaks offered up a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s killer.
ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 9, 2016
The Rich family and the police dismissed speculation that he was the WikiLeaks source and that the murder had anything to do with the Democratic Party, despite never naming a suspect.
Interestingly, tucked within multiple exchanges between Guccifer 2.0 and Young, he casually mentions that his source was named “Seth.”
The conversations between Young and the hacker had been casual and flirty until August 25, 2016, when Guccifer 2.0 told her that he was looking for a “person of trust who can be a guarantee in case anything happens.”
“There’s a thing that doesn’t leave my mind making me feel sad every day,” Guccifer 2.0 told Young.
Young laments that she has the same feeling, as the two of them cannot go on a date. The hacker explains that while this makes him sad, he is also upset about “one whistleblower of mine and my assistant.”
“I’d like to find a journalist who can do an investigation and teel [sic] the real story of his life and death,” Guccifer 2.0 told the model.
“His name is seth, he was my whistleblower,” Guccifer 2.0 said. “I suppose u know who I’m talking about.”
“Yes, and it was horrifying to hear about his death. I have no facts, but my opinion is Hillary had him murdered,” Young responded.
The model suggested that he speak to Julian Assange, but Guccifer 2.0 responded that he is “unsafe” and may be connected to Russians.
“I’m eager to find fact about Seth, I’m sure it wasn’t just a robbery,” Guccifer told her.
Speaking exclusively to Big League Politics, Young explained, “I think the most important thing for me is… getting the story out about Seth Rich, so hopefully his killer/s will be caught and prosecuted, so the Rich family has closure.”
During their discussion about Rich, Young had also suggested that Guccifer speak to me — though the account and I were already in contact at this point.
Guccifer and I
In my own conversations with Guccifer, after I asked to interview him, he informed me that he did not like one outlet I was writing for, Sputnik News, because it was Russian. Just as in the case of Young, my messages with him also consisted of the person behind it being very flirty.
“Wow, u look very enticing!!! I believe what’s really shocking is a collusion between hillary, dnc, & media, what’s ur opinion?” Guccifer wrote in my first private exchange with the account on June 24, after I messaged asking what they thought the most damning contents of the release were.
At this point, I was still supporting Sanders in the primary and was attempting to write a story about the leaks.
I responded by informing the hacker that the leaks had lead to a class action lawsuit against the DNC, over their clear efforts to undermine Sanders’ campaign. I mentioned that I was in contact with he law firm and thinking of joining it.
“Do you believe ur action will be successful? Can u tell me about ur initiative in details?” Guccifer 2.0 responded.
I replied by sending the information sent to me by the firm who had taken the case, which stated that it was a fraud lawsuit.
“On June 15, 2016, an anonymous hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 released documents purportedly hacked from the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the formal governing body of the Democratic Party, and the coordinator of the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary race,” the email from the law firm began. “The hacked documents strongly suggest that the DNC colluded with Sec. Hillary Clinton’s campaign to perpetrate a great fraud on the public.”
Guccifer responded by saying, “oh, great!!! Do u think the docs i published will be enough to win the case? Or do you need some more docs?”
I responded that they seemed to have enough, but sent him the link to the law firm’s website.
“Can it influence the election in any how?” Guccifer asked.
I responded that I hoped so, but changed the subject by saying, “I assume you are outside of the US?” Guccifer declined to answer, citing the danger.
Guccifer then returned to the court case, asking if I knew what court would be considering it. I told them that I was unsure, but that the law firm is in Florida.
I asked if I could interview them, but Guccifer stayed on the topic and asked me to send over the paperwork for the lawsuit. They gave me a private email account and I forwarded the mass email that was sent to everyone interested in the case.
Once again, I attempted to get some insight, in hopes I could somehow figure out the motive behind the leak, both for my story, and out of my own curiosity. I asked if they thought there was anything people are overlooking in what he had dumped.
“Frankly, it’s impossible for me to look through all the docs, it takes lots of time,” they said. “Maybe I’ll have a team in the future to help sort docs :-)”
I responded that I had been trying to go through the release, as was nearly every other reporter in the nation, but that the whole thing was a process. The conversation ended for the day.
On July 8, Guccifer messaged me again asking if there were any updates on the DNC class action suit.
A man named Shawn Lucas, 38, had served the DNC with the paperwork three days prior.
On August 2, Lucas was found dead in his apartment.
According to reports, he was found unresponsive on his bathroom floor when his girlfriend had returned home. Paramedics who responded to the scene found no signs of life.
The death once again set the internet ablaze with theories that the “Clinton Body Count” had just risen.
On August 18, I messaged Guccifer asking if they had heard that Lucas had been found dead.
“Yeah, I heard,” Guccifer wrote on August 21. “Another strange death after Seth Rich was murdered.”
I responded by noting my dismay that it was not reported on heavily, and Guccifer stated that it was “bc msm are for hillary, it’s obvious even to me.”
On August 22, Lucas was named in a motion filed by the DNC to dismiss the case due to “improper service of process.”
The cause of Lucas’ death was not revealed until November, when Heavy learned that his death was due to adverse effects of fentanyl, cyclobenzaprine, and mitragynine.
While theories about Guccifer 2.0’s identity range from a Russian hacker to someone within the DNC, nobody has pinpointed a person or even a solid motive, myself included.
One website that has extensively chronicled Guccifer 2.0’s activity believes that it was a “donkey in a bear costume,” a DNC employee aiming to use misdirection to discredit the WikiLeaks release by posing as a “Russian hacker.”
The Guccifer 2.0 Twitter account has been inactive since January 12.