The murder spawned several right-wing conspiracy theories, including the claim that Rich had been involved with the leaked DNC emails in 2016, which runs contrary to the U.S. intelligence's conclusion the leaked DNC emails were part of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Law enforcement as well as fact-checking websites like PolitiFact.com, Snopes.com, and FactCheck.org stated that these theories were false and unfounded. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post called the fabrications fake news and falsehoods.
Rich's parents condemned the conspiracy theorists and said that these individuals were exploiting their son's death for political gain, and their spokesperson called the conspiracy theorists "disgusting sociopaths". They requested a retraction and apology from Fox News after the network promoted the conspiracy theory, and sent a cease and desist letter to the investigator Fox News used. The investigator stated that he had no evidence to back up the claims which Fox News attributed to him. Fox News issued a retraction, but did not apologize or publicly explain what went wrong.