Prosecutor gives emotional defense in hacker case

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Associated Press

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 17 at 2:33 PM

BOSTON (AP) — A federal prosecutor who has been sharply criticized following the suicide of an Internet freedom activist appeared to fight back tears as she defended her office's handling of a hacking case against him.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz says Aaron Swartz's family has suffered a "horrible tragedy" and that she is personally "terribly upset about what happened here." But she says she believes the case was handled fairly.

Ortiz made her remarks Thursday at an unrelated news conference in Boston.

Ortiz has been blasted online by Swartz's supporters, who believe her office was overly aggressive in charging Swartz with 13 felonies for tapping into MIT's network to download nearly 5 million academic articles from an online clearinghouse for scholarly journals.

Swartz was found dead in his New York apartment last week.

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