Aaron Swartz

Prosecutors Knew Aaron Swartz Was A Suicide Risk But Were ‘Heedless’ In Their Pursuit Of Him

Aaron Swartz
Preston Waters

There are now over 35,000 people asking president Barack Obama to fire the U.S. District Attorney in charge of prosecuting Aaron Swartz. Swartz, the 26-year-old cofounder of Reddit committed suicide last week in his NYC apartment.

Swartz’s family is blaming MIT and federal prosecutors for his death, believing that the pending criminal charges in relation to his alleged hacking caused the young entrepreneur to take his own life. Andy Good, Swartz’s former lawyer, claims that prosecutor Steve Heymann knew that the Internet activist was at risk of committing suicide, but refused to give some slack.

“The thing that galls me is that I told Heymann the kid was a suicide risk,” Good told the Boston Globe. “His reaction was a standard reaction in that office, not unique to Steve. He said, ‘Fine, we’ll lock him up.’ I’m not saying they made Aaron kill himself. Aaron might have done this anyway. I’m saying they were aware of the risk, and they were heedless.”

Swart’z lawyer at the time of his death, Elliot Peters, said that he was faced with the same unrelenting attitude when the prosecutors refused to negotiate any plea deal resulting in no prison time for Aaron Swartz. The prosecution demanded that Swartz plea guilty for 13 felonies and spend at least 6 months in jail.

“There was such rigidity with the people we were dealing with,” Peters said. “I couldn’t find anyone in that office to talk about proportionality and humanity. It was driven by a desire to turn this into a significant case, so that some prosecutor could put it in his portfolio.”

Paul Hudson | Elite. 

Preston Waters

Preston Waters

Editor

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