Well it seems we got our White House response to the 50,000+ signed Remove Carmen Ortiz petition. Attorney General Eric Holder of MERS and Fast and Furious fame, told the Senate yesterday that the Aaron Swartz prosecution was a good idea.
The Texas lawmaker [Senator Cornyn] asked: “Does it strike you as odd that the government would indict someone for crimes that would carry penalties of up to 35 years in prison and million dollar fines and then offer him a 3- or 4-month prison sentence?”
[Attorney General] Holder responded: “I think that’s a good use of prosecutorial discretion to look at the conduct, regardless of what the statutory maximums were and to fashion a sentence that was consistent with what the nature of the conduct was. And I think what those prosecutors did in offering 3, 4, zero to 6 was consistent with, with that conduct.”
The whole process bore a striking resemblance to what the mafia does when they extort money from small businesspeople. They arrive at the person’s shop for the first time and say the owner forgot to pay them protection money. “Hey we could break your leg but instead we’ll simply take 10% of the gross.” The government charges Swartz under an absurd interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act then says “Hey we could send you to prison for 35 years but instead we’ll simply take a 6 month sentence.”
Department of Justice officials even told Congress that by the end the only reason the odious charges against Swartz would not be dropped was because it would be embarrassing.
Some congressional staffers left the briefing with the impression that prosecutors believed they needed to convict Swartz of a felony that would put him in jail for a short sentence in order to justify bringing the charges in the first place, according to two aides with knowledge of the briefing.
Combine that with the case being brought in the first place because of political prejudices and Eric Holder’s assertion about good prosecutorial discretion falls apart. So we have a flimsy case from the beginning that devolved into a witch hunt and only continued on due to the stubbornness and vanity of the prosecutors. The worst tactics of the so-called justice system used on the most promising of citizens.
These people are eating our society alive.