Aaron Swartz's Judge Bans Shirts With His Photo From Courtroom

After a previous suicide The Honorable Nathaniel M. Gorton hasn't recused for Boston's next hacktivism case

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If you try to wear clothing bearing this picture of Aaron Swartz to the next upcoming hacktivism trial in Boston, Federal Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton doesn't want you to be allowed into the courtroom. (Fred Benenson, December 13, 2018, CC By 2.0)

The judge who presided over the federal hacking prosecution of the late Internet activist Aaron Swartz ordered that no one who wears a shirt with a picture of the deceased civic champion will be allowed into the courtroom during my upcoming hacktivism trial in Boston. The order, which was issued yesterday in Boston's John J. Moakley Federal Courthouse by Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton, was also worded as to forbid shirts which feature images of Justina Pelletier, though it specifically and explicitly referred to images of Swartz, whose surname Judge Gorton mispronounced as Shwartz. Judge Gorton's tone issuing the order seemed sarcastic and potentially disrespectful as he said something like, β€œShirts with pictures with Mr. Shwartz in his full glory.” (Again paraphrased.)

My name is Marty Gottesfeld and for background on Aaron Swartz, Justina and myself, please see this article at Red State, this article at Rolling Stone, or this video by Lee Camp.

Judge Gorton's latest order of course raises critical questions regarding free speech under the 1st Amendment as well as regarding public trials under the 6th Amendment and fundamental fairness. For example, elsewhere in American courts, family and friends often wear shirts and buttons prominently featuring the images of deceased loved ones at murder trials.

And Judge Gorton has already faced scrutiny for not recusing himself from my case at a variety of news outlets, including Red State and The Daily Wire. A federal appellate court is now considering a request I made to order Judge Gorton off of the case due to financial and personal conflicts of interest.

However, that request was made prior to today's t-shirt ban and I have subsequently amended my appellate filing.