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Swartz lawyer: Feds insisted on prison time

This Dec. 8, 2012 photo provided by ThoughtWorks shows Aaron Swartz, in New York. Swartz, a co-founder of Reddit, hanged himself Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in New York City. In 2011, he was charged with stealing millions of scientific journals from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in an attempt to make them freely available. He had pleaded not guilty, and his federal trial was to begin next month. (AP Photo/ThoughtWorks, Pernille Ironside)

BOSTON (AP) -- A lawyer for Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz said federal prosecutors told him two days before Swartz's death that Swartz would have to spend six months in prison and plead guilty to 13 charges if he wanted to avoid going to trial.

The 26-year-old Swartz was found dead of an apparent suicide in his New York apartment Friday. He was accused of illegally gaining access to academic articles from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The charges carried a maximum penalty of decades in prison.

His former attorney Andrew Good said he told prosecutors about a year ago that Swartz was a suicide risk. He said they offered to hold him in jail to protect him from himself.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz declined comment.