Prosecutor Defends Swartz Charges

    This Dec. 8, 2012 photo provided by ThoughtWorks shows Aaron Swartz, in New York. Swartz, a co-founder of Reddit, hanged himself Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in New York City. Since his suicide, friends and admirers have eulogized the 26-year-old free-information activist as a martyred hero, hounded to his death by the government he antagonized. (AP Photo/ThoughtWorks, Pernille Ironside)

    Swartz in Dec. 2012. (ThoughtWorks/AP)

    U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz insisted Wednesday that her office’s actions were “appropriate” in pursuing charges against Aaron Swartz, the cofounder of Reddit. Swartz, who died in an apparent suicide last week, had been charged with 13 felony counts of wire and computer fraud after being accused of illegally downloading 4.8 million articles from JSTOR, a subscription-based service, stored on an MIT computer network. Swartz’s family has blamed overzealous prosecutors in pursuing the charges against him—especially because he faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted. In the first statement since Swartz’s death, Ortiz wrote that prosecutors were never considering the maximum penalties against Swartz.

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