A politically ambitious Justice Department official who oversaw the criminal case against Aaron Swartz has come under fire for alleged prosecutorial abuses that led the 26-year-old online activist to take his own life.
Carmen Ortiz, 57, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts who was selected by President Obama, compared the online activist—accused of downloading a large number of academic papers—to a common criminal in a 2011 press release. "Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar," Ortiz said at the time. Last fall, her office slapped Swartz with 10 additional charges that carried a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison.
"He was killed by the government," Swartz's father, Robert, said at his son's funeral in Highland Park, Ill., today, according to a report in the Chicago Sun Times.