Carmen Ortiz's Husband Fires Back at Wife's Critics

Update Jan. 16, 10:50 a.m.: It appears Dolan has deleted his Twitter account altogether, after his tweets defending his wife, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz spawned rebuttals and media attention. (That’d be us.)

Original: U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz hasn’t yet commented on the death of Aaron Swartz, the internet activist whom her office was prosecuting for downloading millions of files from the website JSTOR, so the fact that her husband appears to be firing back at critics on Twitter is attracting some notice.

Swartz’s family laid some blame for his suicide on the “prosecutorial overreach” of Ortiz’s office, which charged him with crimes that could bring up to 35 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. Prosecutors offered Swartz a plea deal that would bring only four to six months in prison, but his lawyers rejected it. A Twitter account apparently operated by Ortiz’s husband,former CFO at IBM Tom Dolan, has been pointing this out to several critics of his wife.

In response to this Tweet, linking out to the family’s statement:

Dolan responded:

And in response to this Tweet from Think Progress:

Dolan wrote:

Dolan’s public defense has been greeted in turn with tweets from Swartz’s supporters, arguing that even the plea deal constitutes overreach. With a petition calling for the removal from office of his wife reaching 27,000 signatures, which now requires a response from the White House, you can see why Ortiz’s husband might feel pressure to answer criticism. Still, it’s odd that Dolan is responding when Ortiz herself has yet to.

  • Harland Brown

    What is extraordinary here is that there seems to be no introspection on the side of the prosecution whether charging a young man with 13 felony counts makes sense when the only party that could have claimed any real damage (i.e. JSTOR) withdrew its charges. Going after him with outrageously inflated charges and then plea bargaining them down to a tiny fraction is a pretty sleazy way of getting a conviction. Also to equate the unauthorized copying of digital content (in this case academic papers) with physical stealing simply shows how little these people understand of the digital world. That does not make said copying “right,” but it certainly is a very different animal from stealing a tangible object, which is no longer available to the original owner.

  • Janet Pidge

    I know firsthand what U. S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz can do to innocent people. It happened to my abused mother, sister and I (reported federal crimes involving high-level corruption) and were denied protection. Because this growing conspiracy involves powerful AG Martha Coakley, Ortiz has been unwilling to do her real job in bring Coakley to justice. Ortiz claims to be a fighter against corruption, but that excludes her friend (Coakley). For years, my family did not know why law enforcement were shunning (3) abused victims. Years later, the dirty secret that Coakley (and corrupt officials) were hiding involved my brother’s (Fred Pidge) informant tasks! And of course, his little plea deals with the FBI, Coakley, and U. S. Attorney’s Office.

    Therefore, I cannot agree more with Ron Newman (MIT alum) the “US zealously overplayed their powers” against Activist Aaron Swartz. He feared going to prison the prosecutors already knew that. Aaron’s six-month plea deal was not put in writing. Had Aaron been given written confirmation (other charges) would not add more prison time, it would have alleviated the (unnecessary) pressure and Aaron would probably still be here. In many cases, there are corrupt officials (like Coakley) who have friends to protect them from doing jail time. Sadly, Aaron needed a more honest (compassionate) liaison to lessen his legal fears.

    J. J. Pidge