For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

David Moon (202) 427-7966 and Moon@DemandProgress.org
David Segal (401) 499-5991 and David@DemandProgress.org

Demand Progress Commends House Oversight Committee's Call for DOJ Briefing About Aaron Swartz Prosecution

Calls for White House to respond to petition demanding firing of prosecutor

WASHINGTON - Demand Progress is praising the leadership of the House Oversight Committee -- Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) -- for demanding a briefing from the Department of Justice on the prosecution of Demand Progress co-founder Aaron Swartz. Their letter calling for such a briefing may be found here:

http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2013-01-28-DEI-EEC...

A renown technologist and Internet activist, Swartz tragically committed suicide earlier this month. He was being threatened with decades in prison for downloading too many academic journal articles. Swartz's friends and family believe that the heavy-handed prosecution by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and her deputy Stephen Heymann helped compel him to take his own life.

According to Demand Progress executive director David Segal, "We commend Representatives Issa and Cummings for taking the first steps in an investigation into Aaron's prosecution. We believe that a non-partisan inquiry into prosecutors' handling of Aaron's case will air important facts, demonstrate the over-breadth of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act -- under which he was prosecuted, and might even reveal misconduct on the part of the prosecutors who led the crusade against him."

Additionally, Demand Progress has demanded that the Obama administration issue a response to an online petition -- housed on the White House's website -- that calls for the firing of Ortiz. The petition broke through the 25,000 signature threshold which is supposed to guarantee a response from the President more than two weeks ago, but the White House has yet to issue a statement. Internet users can join in Demand Progress's calls for a response -- and for Ortiz's firing -- by visiting:

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http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/wh_ortiz/

The White House petition may be found here:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-united-states-district-...

According to Segal: "Thousands of Internet users have demanded answers. Congress is demanding answers. It's time for the White House to respond and let us know if they're going to do justice by Aaron and fire Ortiz."

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