U.S. attorney: We acted reasonably in Swartz case
Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz fought for Web freedoms but faced charges that he illegally downloaded online documents.
January 17th, 2013
12:12 PM ET

U.S. attorney: We acted reasonably in Swartz case

A federal prosecutor is pushing back against a claim by the grieving family of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that "prosecutorial overreach" was a factor in his suicide, saying her office acted "fairly and responsibly."

News of the death of Swartz, 26, last Friday sent shock waves through the hacker community and the larger online world. His family and partner issued a statement saying that federal charges filed over allegations that he stole millions of online documents - mostly scholarly papers - from MIT through the university's computer network contributed to Swartz's decision to take his own life.

But the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, disputed their account of events in a statement released Thursday, while expressing her sympathy "as a parent and a sister" for their loss.

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Filed under: Courts • Technology
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. pntkl

    All sanctioned accusers are simply conducting a moral duty. It must be exceptionally unusual for one's compass thereof to conveniently switch tunes polymetrically, going to and fro, depending on a social imbalance, never mind there being any absolute culpability for those accused or their accuser(s) being held to any similar accountability. Understood, we'll just, uh, act like we're worthy of being perceived to walk tall in a forthright manner–so as to never pay any mind to any of that fanciful 'non-sense' about Equal Protection or should I say the all too common lack therewith.

    January 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • blurb

      You were just dying to use all your new big words for the week weren't you?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • pntkl

      Words that were dying to be said–before time began, Son.

      April 1, 2013 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. martiniano

    Oh BS. Like all prosecutors you acted in the best interest of your career. Or what you thought was in your best interest. Now you have this blood on your hands for the rest of your life. Think about that every single time you wash your hands: they are still covered with his blood.

    January 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim terwiliger

    Regardless of what happens to carmen she should be hounded about this forever.
    see her in a restaurant? Call her out
    Is she at the grocery store let her hear your voice
    May she be haunted by this for the rest of her life

    January 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Kenadee

    so..... it's normal for the defendant to commit suicide? I read the evidence against him he was being raked over the coals for downloading tons of data from JSTor a free resource the charges against him were very unreasonable!

    January 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe Kenadee

    well I stand corrected apparently he stole from a "government" computer millions of pages of information that they charged 8 cents a page for ouch!

    January 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sly

    The guy was mentally ill, weak, and cowardly, so he off'd himself. End of story.

    I'm glad we have prosecutors who support the law, but that has nothing to do with some insane man killing himself.

    January 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • dreamer96

      Hmm Well sly

      Richard Jewell, ( The July 27th 1996 Atlantic Georgia Olympics bombing Unsung Hero..It was Eric Robert Rudolph who really planted that Olympic Park bomb).. thought about committing suicide after going from a Hero to a Suspect...and even after he was cleared he could not go anywhere with out people talking behind his back.....

      Just try to image what that must have been like if you can...Pretend you are Richard Jewell for a minute...

      January 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Show some compassion

      This guy was only 26. He had a lot to offer this world. I'd like to see how brave you would be if the government decided to make an example out of you. You do not know the details of this story, yet you declare him to be an "insane man". Do you have the guts to tell that to his grieving mothers face? Coward.

      January 18, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      He was way smarter than the average Joe, with a personality to match. No one like you could hold a candle to this guy. He'll be sorely missed, unlike yourself..

      January 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary Halverson Wagner

      Shakespeare's strongly stated belief that society would be far better off if it could rid itself of all lawyers once and for all, has tremendous merit and should be seriously implemented. The legal system supports only itself. It's a false dominion made up of parasites whose greatest fear is that their uselessness will be recognized. They should be afraid, because the veil is being lifted, and the people do not like what they see.

      February 2, 2013 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. fernace

    Not only did the Federal Prosecutor possibly push a fragile person over the edge, but now they're engaging in a "word war"w/Swartz family, who have barely buried him & are still in tears & disbelief!? Huh!? Are the Feds so emotionally hampered or are they really robots?? Let the family heal a while before going on the attack! Their family member committed suicide & no matter his mental condition, they are trying to figure out what tipped the scale! An arbitrary investigation may have been the 1 reason or 1 of many! Right now they are raw & venting. It's rude to "push back" at people in grief! They could have taken the "high road" & made a neutral statement! Now I think an an investigation into the investigation should be called for! The feds doth protest a bit much, it would seem!!

    January 17, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hide Behind

    This is 2nd person she hounded into suicide.
    Learn the background his and outfit that held info.
    He was not charged ny outfit but by Harvard working with political prosecutor.
    HE did not actally hack he was a paying member with access. But denied by
    All the works had been by mainly public university students and others like himself that had major hands in developing tech yet this outfit claiming property rights charged for public paid fot information.
    THISis pvt gov way of denying access to public info into just their choice and paid for hands..
    Same thing happening with almost all books of past being bought up and digitized to be on a pay to read basis that used to sit on public library shelves.
    This is not a one domensional world people.

    January 17, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hide Behind

    This control of information almost all of it paid for with public funding and much of it by many very intelligent private individuals who first put it out there on free cyber then a quasi public privat for profit group backed org is formed that not only charges for it both on the university for access and then for any paid member to use, is an artificialy imposed control of the flow of info into just a few peoples hands. Some of the stuff was his own or part of groups he had participated in.
    Much like the tonnes of on line books that are only available on dgital format that I cannot any longer afford to reasearch

    January 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hide Behind

    perfect case of greed for fame and a person of power abusing that power to advance themselves.
    This second youthh she zealously wanted to punish for reatively minor offence by blowing matter put of all proportion just to satisfy her libidos need for recognition.
    If you don,t think that today many such abuses of power are not out there go see slys one dimensional world.
    Law and order types do not try too hard to understand the concepts of justice; All they know is it says rigjt here and the law os the law.

    January 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dreamer96

    Go read about what happened to Richard Jewell...a true unsung hero...He thought about committing suicide too...

    January 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hermes96

    We acted reasonably..

    Go read about the life of the unsung Hero Richard Jewell....He thouhgt about suicide too..

    January 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • merridee

      Good point.

      January 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chrissy

    Carmen is another egotrippinmaniac!

    January 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. J Walker

    Wonder why it is, that when someone dies suddenly, shoots someone suddenly or gets arrested 'suddenly...they are always 'mentally' incapacitated in one way or another.
    This is almost like the 'terrorist' card or the WMD card or better yet.. the 'dictator' card used by government to cover up their illegal doings. I don't trust ONE thing the biased media writes. It's not a secret that the government, especially this government, HATES WHISTLEBLOWERS. They use to be able to 'hide' their secrets through the lies of media but lo and behold.. the internet. The GATEWAY to truth. Now? They want to control that also.
    Wake up people.. innocent people are dying everyday and they are all ' deranged' like they want you to believe. I've been reading articles since the 60's of people being 'off'd because of what they know, what they can say or who they could influence. WAKE UP..

    January 18, 2013 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cindy

    My prayers are with the family. But what this person did was wrong, and decided to end his life, rather than face the charges against him.

    January 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
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