90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, January 17, 2013

Federal Prosecutor Says Aaron Swartz Case Handled Well

Aaron Swartz is pictured at Boston Wiki Meetup in August 2009.  (ragesoss/Flickr)

Aaron Swartz is pictured at Boston Wiki Meetup in August 2009. (ragesoss/Flickr)

A federal prosecutor criticized over criminal charges against an Internet activist who killed himself in New York says her office’s handling of the case was “appropriate.”

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz on Wednesday extended her “heartfelt sympathy” to Swartz’s loved ones but continued to defend the charges against him and said her office had acted properly. She said she understood there was anger felt by people who believe her office’s prosecution of Swartz was unwarranted and was tied to his suicide.

“I must, however, make clear that this office’s conduct was appropriate in bringing and handling this case,” Ortiz said in an emailed statement. “The career prosecutors handling this matter took on the difficult task of enforcing a law they had taken an oath to uphold, and did so reasonably.”

Ortiz had said earlier that “stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars” and that the victim is harmed “whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away.” But she insisted her office never sought maximum penalties in Swartz’s case and never told his attorneys it intended to.

Swartz was charged with 13 felonies in 2011 after he was accused of using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s computer network to illegally download nearly 5 million academic articles.

Friends say he was a shy young man who felt government and big business had hijacked the Web.

Swartz’s death has touched off a backlash against prosecutors. He has been eulogized as a martyred hero since his suicide last week.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

November 21 5 Comments

Students Protest University Of California Tuition Hikes

In spite of protests on University of California campuses, the board voted to hike tuitions by about 5 percent every year for the next five years.

November 20 3 Comments

The Man Behind ‘Mockingjay’

Francis Lawrence describes the rewards and challenges of bringing "The Hunger Games" books to the screen.

November 20 Comment

Iraq War Vet Wins National Book Award For Fiction

The judges described the short stories in Phil Klay's collection "Redeployment" as brutal, piercing and sometimes darkly funny.

November 20 21 Comments

More Companies Selling Antibiotic-Free Meats

Demand is rising for meat raised without antibiotics. The owner of a company specializing in antibiotic-free meat and poultry joins us.