WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, under fire over her office’s aggressive prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, was admonished by a federal appeals court in 2004 for advocating a harsher jail term for a defendant than she had promised him in a plea-bargain agreement, according to a court document.
Ortiz, a potential candidate for Massachusetts governor or the federal judiciary prior to Swartz’s January suicide, has come under congressional criticism for allowing Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann to pursue an aggressive Internet fraud case against Swartz. A court decision from 2004 revealed that Ortiz, while an assistant prosecutor herself, also used an aggressive tactic. A Justice Department spokesman wasn’t available to comment.
The appeals court document was brought to light in an anonymous letter to members of Congress involved in the House Oversight Committee investigation into the Justice Department’s handling of the Swartz case. read more