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Harrassment campaign allegedly targets Aaron Swartz prosecutors

Aaron Swartz, the co-founder of Reddit.
Courtesy of Fred Benenson/Flickr

Prosecutors who brought charges against Internet activist Aaron Swartz now claim to be the target of a online harassment, court documents show.

Swartz, a 26-year-old computer prodigy, was the co-founder of the social news website Reddit. He committed suicide in January while facing federal charges dating back from 2010, when as a Harvard University fellow studying ethics, he allegedly hacked into Massachusetts Institute of Technology's computer network stealing nearly 5 million academic articles with plans to make them public.

His trial in Boston was due to commence in February.

In their public statement after Swartz's death, his family blamed the prosecutors for his suicide.

In a March 29 court filing Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Pirozzolo said he had been "shown various harassing and potentially threatening email messages directed at United States Attorney Ortiz and the United States Attorney's Office following Mr. Swartz's suicide."

Pirozzolo said that U.S. attorney Stephen Heymann received an email saying, "ROFLMAO just saw you were totally dox'd over the weekend by Anonymous. How does it feel to become an enemy of the state? FYI, you might want to move out of the country and change your name."

That same email supposedly contained Heymann's home address and personal telephone number. Names of his family members and friends were posted online.

Heymann also allegedly received a postcard showing his father's head falling off a guillotine. His father, a Harvard professor, was sent a similar picture.

The court filing was first reported by Wired magazine.

MIT has announced that it will voluntarily release public documents related to the prosecution of Swartz. The school's computer system has been hacked multiple times since Swartz's death.

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    Jessica Hartogs is a news editor for CBSNews.com. You can find her on Twitter: @jessicahartogs