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Prosecutor Gives Emotional Defense In Hacker Case

BOSTON — A top federal prosecutor who has been sharply criticized following the suicide of Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz appeared to fight back tears as she defended her office’s handling of a hacking case against him.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Swartz’s family has suffered a “horrible tragedy” and said she was personally “terribly upset about what happened here.”

But she said she believes the case was handled fairly.

“When anything this tragic occurs, you always have to pause and think and review. And we do that,” Ortiz said Thursday at an unrelated news conference. “We always strive to do our best. We strive to be fair. We strive to be just.”

Ortiz has been blasted online by Swartz’s supporters, who believe her office was overly aggressive in charging Swartz with 13 felonies for hacking into MIT’s computer network to download nearly 5 million academic articles from an online clearinghouse for scholarly journals.

Swartz was found dead in his New York apartment Jan. 11.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

Listen to WBUR Reporter David Boeri’s report on Ortiz’s statement:

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  • Sinclair

    Aron Swartz was mentally ill while on the edge of life, death and accomplishment. I believe his final tragic act was to be a martyr for his cause by punishing those who’s job was to punish him.

  • Doubting_Thomas12

    It’s funny, they always go after the powerless. The real criminals get a small fine and told that they’re far too important to jail, for laundering money for terrorists and drug cartels.

    But stealing information that is available in most libraries and spreading it around the internet? Definitely worse than supporting mass murder and narcotics addiction of and for our citizens.

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