Seth Rich Investigator Arrested for Allegedly Attacking Lobbyist Who Hired Him

A man who was once investigating the mysterious death of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was arrested for allegedly attacking the Republican lobbyist who hired him for the probe.

The Arlington County Police Department arrested Kevin Doherty, 46, after authorities say he used a firearm and wounded lobbyist Jack Burkman last week. Doherty once worked for the Profiling Project, an effort that Burkman started to investigate Rich’s murder.

Rich was shot and killed on July 10, 2016 as he walked home from a Washington, D.C. bar. The case gained notoriety among conspiracy theorists, who have suggested that his death was related to the WikiLeaks release of documents belonging to the Democratic National Committee around two weeks later. Police and investigators say there’s no evidence to support the linkage, and last week Rich’s family filed a lawsuit over the claims.

03_20_Burkman_Doherty_Rich Kevin Doherty, who was investigating the murder of Seth Rich for the Profiling Project, allegedly attacked lobbyist Jack Burkman, pictured here, the man funding the group. The Publicity Agency

Burkman got involved with the case around two months after Rich’s murder, offering a $100,000 reward for information about the killing, and he later started the Profiling Project, comprised of about 20 volunteers who were current and former students and instructors at George Washington University, to investigate it. Last June, the group released a report claiming Rich’s death “does not appear to be a random homicide” or a “robbery gone bad,” and was “more likely committed by a hired killer or serial murderer” who was still at large. Police have said the murder was a botched robbery, and a spokesman for Rich’s family has disputed the report’s credibility.

When the group published its findings, Doherty, then a recent graduate of George Washington University, spoke by phone with Newsweek. “We’re personally tied to this,” he said. “This is a case that we want to solve. We want to provide closure on this.”

But Burkman and Doherty apparently parted ways soon after. “He became somewhat angry because he thought the Profiling Project belonged to him,” Burkman told The Washington Post, which reported on Tuesday about Doherty’s arrest. “I just figured the matter was closed…. But what happened is, I guess, he was simmering and simmering and simmering.”

On March 13, as Burkman was retrieving what he said were materials from a source in an investigation into since-fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, he said he was shot multiple times and run over with an SUV. The vehicle got away, and Burkman was hospitalized for three days.

“Earlier this evening I was attacked while leaving the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, Virginia,” Burkman said in a statement at the time. “After being struck with some form of a projectile, I was run down by a large black SUV. I’m currently suffering from a broken wrist, a possible broken leg and an injury of unknown severity relating to the projectile.”

Initially, Burkman attributed the incident to his McCabe investigation. “This attack is a direct result of my hunt for the truth regarding FBI corruption,” he said in his statement last week. “I’ve been working with a confidential source within the agency for the past month and was only at the Marriott to pick up documents the source left for pickup.”

Burkman had said in January that he was assaulted too, with pepper spray, but no charges were filed in that incident. In a tweet, he suggested the first incident was connected to a January 20 hotel attack in Kabul, during which a man working as a publicist for him was killed.

After the March incident, the police connected the SUV to Doherty, Burkman told the Post. Doherty was taken into custody on March 17 and charged with the use of a firearm in committing a felony and two counts of malicious wounding, court records show. He is being held without bond and his next court appearance is scheduled for April 19. The records did not list a defense attorney.

A spokesperson for the Arlington County Police Department was unavailable to comment.