The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 :

11k Sign Petition On Demanding Obama Administration Fire US Attorney Steven Heymann Over Reckless Prosecution Of Aaron Swartz

Aaron's Partner & Demand Progress Call on the Internet to Push White House Petition Past Threshold Before Deadline


In the aftermath of Aaron Swartz death, supporters of Aaron and advocates for common sense legal reform started two petitions on, the official website of the White House. One was for Carmen Ortiz, Heymann's boss, to be fired. That petition has already surpassed the required 25,000 signature threshold, which means that the White House must respond to it publicly.

The other petition calls for Steve Heymann to be fired. So far, the petition has over 11,000 signatures. While the White House changed the threshold of required signatures for response a few days after Aaron's death, the change does not apply to petitions created prior to that point. This petition needs to reach 25,000 signatures by Monday to solicit a response from the White House.


"I believe that Heymann is guilty of prosecutorial misconduct on several levels, but I can't prove it until we have a proper investigation," said Aaron's partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman. "Heymann and Ortiz wanted to make an example out of Aaron. Instead, we as a society must make an example out of Heymann and Ortiz. Prosecutors must understand that they have moral responsibilities. They cannot simply hide behind the phrase 'prosecutorial discretion' to justify any decision. Their actions have consequences, and they must be held accountable to them."


Demand Progress, an online civil liberties activism group with nearly 1.5 million members co-founded by Aaron Swartz is also urging their members to sign the petition before the Monday deadline. "We're still waiting for the White House to break its conspicuous silence and respond to the petition -- housed on the White House's own petition site -- to fire U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. She runs the office that chose the persecute Aaron, and the petition has substantially surpassed the 25,000 signatures it needed to collect to be assured of a response," said David Segal of Demand Progress. "But she's not the only one who's responsible for what happened. An Assistant U.S. Attorney named Steve Heymann had a vendetta against Aaron and other information freedom activists in greater Boston. Heymann is perhaps the person most responsible for driving Aaron's prosecution."

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