He was charged with "unauthorized (computer) access" under the Computer and Abuse Act. He did the equivalent of checking out too many library books at the same time.
Obama prosecutors claim doing so is criminal. They've waged war on Internet freedom. They want Net Neutrality and free expression abolished. They want fascist laws replacing them.
They usurped diktat power. They spurn rule of law principles and other democratic values. They enforce police state authority. They prioritize what no civil society should tolerate.
They claimed Aaron intended to distribute material on peer-to-peer networks. He never did. It hardly mattered. Documents he secured were returned. No harm. No foul. Federal authorities charged him anyway.
In July 2011, a Massachusetts grand jury indicted him. He was arraigned in Boston US District Court. He pled not guilty to all charges. He was freed on a $100,000 unsecured bond.
If convicted, he faced up to 35 years imprisonment and a $1 million dollar fine. He wanted scientific/scholarly articles liberated. They belong in the public domain. He wanted everyone given access. It's their right, he believed.
He wanted a single giant dataset established. He did it before. He wasn't charged. Why now?
"While his methods were provocative," said EFF, his goal was "freeing the publicly-funded scientific literature from a publishing system that makes it inaccessible to most of those who paid for it."