Greenwald: Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann must be held accountable for prosecutorial abuse in Aaron Swartz case

"As more facts emerge regarding the conduct of the federal prosecutors in the case of Aaron Swartz - Massachusetts' US attorney Carmen Ortiz and assistant US attorney Stephen Heymann," writes Glenn Greenwald, "There is greater and greater momentum for real investigations, accountability and reform. It is urgent that this opportunity not be squandered, that this interest be sustained." (Comment is free |


  1. nothing will happen, but maybe the people will become a little more aware that prosecutors, be it at federal, state or local level, have no accountability at all in this country. they are completely immune, even if they break the law on purpose (withholding evidence etc). 

    1. While it may be difficult to press for accountability in circumstances where other examples demonstrate that accountability is absent, or worse selective, and displays a preferential ‘blind eye’ for crimes that have caused clearly visible devastation, it remains true that EVIL PROSPERS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING. May those good men be strengthened in their resolve and act with unshakeable conviction.

  2. Demand Progress has asked for Facebook correspondence with U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (Ranking Member on the House Oversight Committee). Here are my sentiments, about Aaron’s death, as conveyed to Representative Cummings:

    Many prominent scholars, lawyers (from major academic institutions, such as Harvard and Stanford) and concerned, informed journalists and lay people (enough to have crossed the 25,000 signature threshold for a petition for the removal of the U.S. Attorney Ortiz, on We The People) have been shocked over how the late Aaron Swartz’s case was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. There are a number of careful and significant accounts of how a relatively minor case, with no real victims, was amplified into the kind of prosecution that we would see for actors engaged in major drug trafficking or terrorism. Your colleague, Zoe Lofgren, has already drafted legislation, to amend the CFAA, that would excise opportunities for the overly broad levels of professional discretion that led to Swartz’s suicide.

    There are real and enduring questions about persistent, repetitive and severe abuse of professional ethics, on the part of U.S. Attorney Ortiz, and the lead prosecutor assigned to this case, Heymann. Those of us who care (and there are many) look to the House Oversight Committee for an opportunity to shed more transparency and accountability around how the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts goes about its business.

    Representative Cummings, this is not an event that will fade in the minds of many of the “best and brightest,” across this country. Whatever is or is not done will be remembered. In this case, significant elements of us are in strong agreement with the sentiments and proposed actions of Representative Issa. Please join us, and others, in fully vetting the issues around this tragedy. We cannot consume our future to maintain wrongheaded policies, particularly in the unregulated use of prosecutorial discretion. We should not, no, we cannot, ever use the powers of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to destroy the idealistic, the gifted, the generous, the energetic, the visionaries among us. Aaron Swartz was all of that, and more.When we destroy the Aaron Swartzs among us, surely, we destroy ourselves.

    Dion Dennis

  3. We should call for JURY NULLIFICATION for all cases coming out of the Mass. US attorneys office until the criminals Stephen Heymann and Carmen Ortiz are fired and arrested for manslaughter

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