Carmen Ortiz has released a statement regarding the death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz. In it, the U.S. Attorney defends her department’s conduct, calling it a “difficult task” to enforce the laws that govern the use of computers and the Internet. “The prosecutors recognized that there was no evidence against Mr. Swartz indicating that he committed his acts for personal financial gain, and they recognized that his conduct… did not warrant the severe punishments authorized by Congress.”
As well as expressing sympathy to Swartz’s family and friends, calling his suicide a “tragic result,” Ms. Ortiz reveals that prosecutors were seeking a six-month jail term in a low-security setting. “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. Do you think that a six-month, low-security sentence was acceptable, or do you feel that, after Swartz’s tragic death, the law needs changing?