House panel demands answers concerning prosecution Swartz

Saying they had "a lot of questions" about the continuation of the Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide earlier this month, two key members of the House oversight and Reform Committee Government requested a briefing with the Ministry of Justice.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder outlining seven issues that legislators for prosecutors on continued Swartz.

"Many questions were raised about the appropriate level of the sentence sought by prosecutors for alleged violations of Mr. Swartz, and how the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, cited in 11 of the 13 charges against Mr. Swartz, should apply in similar circumstances, "the pair said in the letter, which requests a briefing later than February 4.

Swartz, who has defended the rights of free access to the documents on the Internet, was hanged on January 11, two years to the day after his arrest on charges of stealing 4 million documents from MIT and JSTOR, an archive of journals scientific and academic papers.

He faces $ 4 billion in fines and 50 years in prison if convicted. Critics of the defense counsel of the accused the federal government of unfairly trying to make an example of Swartz 26-year-old.

Letter legislator asked how the office decided to pursue Swartz and if the opposition activist to SOPA impacted. The letter also asks whether the Department of Justice found no evidence that Swartz was involved in piracy and other arguments that specific offers were provided by the Department. CNET has contacted the Department of Justice for comment and will update this report when we hear back.

Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, who oversaw the continued Swartz, defended his office handling the case.

"The career prosecutors handling this issue had the difficult task of enforcing a law they had sworn to uphold, and a reasonable," Ortiz said earlier this month.

Computer fraud laws referenced by Reps. Issa and Cummings have been targeted for reform by a Democratic Representative in Silicon Valley. Rep. Zoe Lofgren announced earlier this month she wrote a bill entitled "An Act of Aaron" which aims to change the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act 1984 and the status of electronic fraud to exclude terms violations of services.

Letter to the Ministry of Justice on Aaron Swartz
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