Emotional Carmen Ortiz 'terribly upset' over Swartz suicide
Jan 17, 2013 (Boston Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
U.S Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz today defended her office's prosecution of Reddit co-founder and Internet activist Aaron Swartz, expressing sympathy for his family and saying she is "terribly upset" she is being blamed for his suicide.
"The family here has quite obviously suffered a terrible tragedy. I don't think there's an explanation I could give that possibly would make them feel better," Ortiz said at a news conference to address raids on an alleged Dorchester drug ring this morning.
"The evidence they had, the charges they brought, this case was fairly and appropriately and reasonably handled," she added.
Ortiz, who broke days of silence on the case late last night in a statement, denied that prosecutors demanded a guilty plea from Swartz, who had been charged with federal hacking charges. He was slated to go to trial next month before taking his own life in his New York apartment on Friday.
Though she defended the case against him, Ortiz said his death has given her cause "to think and pause and review."
"I am terribly upset at what has happened here, and the kind of allegations that have been made," she said.
Ortiz's prosecution of Swartz has drawn harsh nationwide criticism, ranging from Internet freedom circles to Congress, where lawmakers say they're crafting a bill that would help stop prosecutors from seeking criminal charges against others accused of violating an online user agreement, as Swartz was when he connected to an MIT database and downloaded millions of scholarly articles.
Swartz's friends and family have been equally outspoken against prosecutors, with his father asserting that Swartz was "killed by the government" this week.
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