US Attorney Defends Prosecution Of Aaron Swartz

US Attorney Defends Prosecution Of Aaron Swartz

While activists rally in an attempt to rewrite the law, the US Attorney’s office in Massachusetts has issued a public statement which defends the prosecution of Aaron Swartz.

Written by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the statement reads:

I know that there is little I can say to abate the anger felt by those who believe that this office’s prosecution of Mr. Swartz was unwarranted and somehow led to the tragic result of him taking his own life.

I must, however, make clear that this office’s conduct was appropriate in bringing and handling this case. 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…

[T]his office sought an appropriate sentence that matched the alleged conduct — a sentence that we would recommend to the judge of six months in a low security setting. While at the same time, his defence counsel would have been free to recommend a sentence of probation. Ultimately, any sentence imposed would have been up to the judge. At no time did this office ever seek — or ever tell Mr. Swartz’s attorneys that it intended to seek — maximum penalties under the law.

Amid criticism of existing laws, the statement serves as a reminder that, while 35 years in prison and fines of $US1 million loomed on the horizon for Swartz, the reality could have been very different. [US Attorney via All Things D]