Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts on Monday dropped all charges against late Internet activist and programmer Aaron Swartz, the Associated Press reports. Swartz, 26, was found dead in his New York City apartment on Friday, January 11, victim of an apparent suicide. He had been indicted in 2011 on 13 counts, including wire fraud and computer fraud, for gaining unauthorized access to the subscriber portion of the JSTOR academic article database through a computer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he downloaded 4.8 million protected journal articles.
Although JSTOR later called for the federal case to be dropped, it proceeded and Swartz had been due to face trial in April. Swartz’s family on Saturday released a statement implicating the federal government and MIT in his death, which read in part: “Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. ”