House Committee Demands Answers From Justice Department Over The Prosecution Of Aaron SwartzBy: Zach Walton - January 29, 2013
It’s been a few weeks now since noted activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide. Since then, there has been a lot of discussion in regards to our justice system and how it handles prosecution. The House promised to look into it, and now the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be doing just that.
Darrell Issa, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, and Elijah Cummings, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding a briefing from the Justice Department on the prosecution of Aaron Swartz. Most of the letter recounts the history of Swartz’ case, but the end dives into what the Committee wants out of the briefing:
Many questions have been raised about the appropriate level of punishment sought by prosecutors for Mr. Swartz’s alleged offenses, and how the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, cited in 11 of 13 counts against Mr. Swartz, should apply under similar circumstances. For example, according to Marc Zwillinger, a former federal prosecutor familiar with cybercrime investigations, “[t]he question in any given case is whether the prosecutor asked for too much, and properly balanced the harm caused in a particular case with the defendant’s true culpability.”
From there, the letter demands that the Justice Department answer the following questions at a briefing:
It’s kind of a long shot, but the DoJ might just humor the House Committee and actually show up. The Department will have to schedule the briefing for a day before February 4. We’ll let you know if the DoJ responds, or it it schedules a briefing. If it does show up, it might yield some interesting results as Issa has proven to be pretty tough on these matters.[h/t: The Hill]