Later Monday, at 7:30 PM EST, Tim Lee, Lawrence Lessig and Maria Bustillos appeared live on Al Jazeera. All of them discussed the supposed "offense" that Swartz "committed" at Pacer, downloading JSTOR documents. Apparently the property owner did not want to prosecute. There is some sense that the prosecution is based on an overreaching interpretation of a vaguely worded law from the 1980s. The government is trying to make violations of "terms of service" of a private service a prosecutable offense (like a criminal trespass). The charges could have led to a maximum of 35 years in prison and $1 million fines, and Swartz's resources had been drained by fighting what seemed like a frivolous prosecution that might have been dismissed or overturned on appeal.
Swartz was a leader in the opposition to SOPA during the winter of 2011-2012 and had helped organize the one day boycott that encouraged Congress to drop the law.