According to Aaron Swartz's defense team, federal prosecutor Steve Heymann (star of Quinn Norton's extraordinary piece on the prosecution) illegally withheld evidence that would have exculpated Aaron:
In the document, Peters argues that Heymann withheld exculpatory evidence. At issue was whether the federal government had properly obtained a warrant to search Swartz' computer and thumb drive. Peters argued that the government failed by waiting more than a month to obtain the warrant. Heymann countered that he couldn't get a warrant because he didn't have access to the equipment. But an email in Heymann's possession, which was written to Heymann himself, showed that assertion to be untrue.
In an email that was not provided to the defense team until the last minute, Michael Picket, a Secret Service agent, wrote to Heymann on Jan. 7, "I am prepared to take custody of the laptop anytime after it has been processed for prints or whenever you feel is appropriate. As far as I know no one has sought a warrant for the examination of the computer, the cell phone that was on his person or the 8gb flash drive that was in his backpack." It would be more than a month before Heymann obtained a warrant -– far too long, in Peters' estimation, which means that the evidence found on the laptop could have become inadmissible.
Peters' complaint, which was filed in late January but has not been previously reported, makes additional charges that cannot be revealed because the government fought for a protective order that keeps case information secret. Peters is attempting to have that order lifted.
Aaron Swartz Lawyers Accuse Prosecutor Stephen Heymann Of Misconduct