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MIT to release documents about activist Swartz

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm •  Published: March 19, 2013
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Swartz's family said his suicide was "the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach."

But federal prosecutors have defended their pursuit of the case and say Swartz was offered deal under which he would have spent just four to six months in prison.

Charges were dropped after Swartz's death.

A lawyer for Swartz's estate welcomed Reif's decision, but questioned MIT's need for secrecy and worried that documents with names blacked out would be "incomprehensible and impossible to follow."

"It's long overdue that they've agreed to release something," San Francisco-based attorney Elliot Peters said. "But I don't see the reason to redact.

"I am not aware of any threats having been made to anybody at MIT. I don't know why that's a concern."

Lawyers for Swartz's estate said in their filing Friday that "The public has an important and clearly established interest in receiving the information necessary to understand the events that led to Aaron Swartz's arrest and indictment."

"It would show what happened and show the role MIT had in this," Peters said Tuesday.

They asked that names remain in the documents if released.

"Redaction of these individuals' names would merely add a layer of confusion and opacity to the documents without any additional privacy benefit," they wrote.

MIT's computer system has been hacked multiple times since Swartz's death. The campus was placed into lockdown last month when someone called to report a gunman in a university building. MIT later said the gunman report was a hoax apparently prompted by Swartz's death.

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Online: Reif's statement, http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/reif-letter-swartz-documents-0319.html