Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

January 10, 2014 - 3:52 pm

Conservatives and liberals are calling out the Justice Department for not being forthcoming after their requests for information about Aaron Swartz’s prosecution.

The Reddit co-founder committed suicide a year ago on Saturday while facing an aggressive prosecutorial effort by the DOJ.

After Swartz’s death, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) and, separately, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder asking numerous questions about the U.S. Attorney’s Office conduct in the case. Swartz, a freedom of information advocate, was charged with breaking into the computer networks at MIT and downloading thousands of academic articles. Just 26 years old at the time of his death, he was facing up to 50 years behind bars for allegedly violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

“We regret that the information your Department has provided to date has not been satisfactory – among other things, it painted a picture of prosecutors unwilling or unable to weigh what charges to pursue against a defendant, something which you have instructed federal prosecutors is ‘among [their] most fundamental duties,’” said the letter to Holder today signed by Cornyn, Issa, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), and Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Jared Polis (D-Colo.).

The Justice Department’s account is “inconsistent with findings in the report prepared by MIT.” For example, the DOJ claimed that the prosecution of Swartz had nothing to do with the “exercise of his legal rights as a citizen,” while the MIT report indicates that the U.S. Attorney said “the straw that broke the camel’s back” in moving forward with the indictment of Swartz was an Internet petition gathering signatures on Swartz’s behalf.

“Inconsistencies such as these require serious responses to the original letter, and indeed raise more questions about the prosecution of Mr. Swartz. One year ago, we sought the basis for the U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s determination that her office’s conduct was ‘appropriate.’ We have received no such information, not even the sentencing memoranda that surely were prepared in a case such as this,” the lawmakers wrote.

“In March, you testified that Mr. Swartz’s case was ‘a good use of prosecutorial discretion.’  We respectfully disagree. We hope your response to this letter is fulsome, which would help re-build confidence about the willingness of the Department to examine itself where prosecutorial conduct is concerned.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
That's it? What about the lawless thug tactics against Arizona, Utah .... etc; etc. The DOJ is acting like Stasi thugs ... and the silence is deafening. Cover-ups are on thin ice - as the Chrisitie episode has revealed - and both Obama and Holder are getting cornered. Rats get more vicious when they're cornered; they act very scary and bare their teeth and make the most eerie noises ... expecting to scare their opponents and make them relent. Obama and Holder are engaged in the "cornered" mode.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly. Holder should be impeached for F&F, the New Black Panther scandal, and the selective enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eric Holder should have been impeached after F&F. The fact that he is still at DoJ committing crimes should be front page news throughout the US.

Alas, the front pages are screaming for Chris Christy's head.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Aaron Swartz advocated the theft of other people's work; he was prosecuted for actually stealing it; he committed suicide because there was a chance that he was not going to be able to invoke a full Special Snowflake Exemption and walk despite his theft.

Eric Holder is a grotesque joke as an Attorney General, but it does not change the above truths.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Prosecutorial misconduct crosses party lines.........and for some unknown reason, so-called "conservatives" are the LEAST likely to condemn it.........
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Insofar as the impeachment of Holder, it cannot be attempted BEFORE January
1, 2014. While the House could impeach today, the Senate would not convict. After January of 2014 though, if things go well, there should be no obstacle. Additionally, the weight of ALL the other DOJ transgressions should come to bear. This would serve as a shot across the bow of the rest of the administration. There are at least TWO deaths that the DOJ are directly responsible for as well as countless others due to F&F. Lying to Congress as Holder and others have done should be easy to prove. Let's see if they're willing.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
This smells. I'll check it out. Something here simply does not add up. Of course with this administration, that includes just about everything. Did BHO's body count just go up by one?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eric Holder should have been impeached after F&F. The fact that he is still at DoJ committing crimes should be front page news throughout the US.

Alas, the front pages are screaming for Chris Christy's head.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Impeached, nothing: he should be executed. He's clearly guilty of treason, and that treason has cost a number of people their lives.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly. Holder should be impeached for F&F, the New Black Panther scandal, and the selective enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's it? What about the lawless thug tactics against Arizona, Utah .... etc; etc. The DOJ is acting like Stasi thugs ... and the silence is deafening. Cover-ups are on thin ice - as the Chrisitie episode has revealed - and both Obama and Holder are getting cornered. Rats get more vicious when they're cornered; they act very scary and bare their teeth and make the most eerie noises ... expecting to scare their opponents and make them relent. Obama and Holder are engaged in the "cornered" mode.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All