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Prosecutor Demanded Takedown After Wife Of Incarcerated Activist Published Legally Obtained Court Recording

The wife of an activist, jailed for engaging in a digital sit-in against the Boston Children’s Hospital website, says she was threatened by the FBI for posting a clip of sworn testimony from the case to YouTube.

Marty Gottesfeld learned about the case of Justina Pelletier, who was institutionalized in a psychiatric ward in 2013 against her parents’ wishes. Gottesfeld allegedly organized with members of Anonymous and participated in a distributed denial of service (DDOS) operation that disrupted the donation portal for the hospital website.

He was arrested in Miami in February last year and faces a conspiracy charge and charges of “intent to damage a protected computer,” which are offenses under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison and could pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution.

Dana Gottesfeld purchased a copy of a court recording of his detention hearing. She published a snippet of audio to YouTube—a statement from the hearing in which FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Williams states the FBI was not investigating abuse of Pelletier.

A prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts suspected it was an unauthorized recording and requested Dana Gottesfeld take the clip down. If she did that, the prosecutor would promise not to investigate the matter or raise the issue with the federal judge in the case.

She thinks it is highly likely the FBI is closely monitoring postings from the “Free Marty G” campaign and anything that appears on the internet about him.

“What the FBI is threatening to do to me is a microcosm of what they are doing to Marty, another instance of selective exercise of their powers,” Dana Gottesfeld told Shadowproof. “I would sincerely hope that instead of coming after me for a recording that I legally bought from them that they investigate Boston Children’s Hospital for allegations they admitted they are aware of against Justina Pelletier.”

“What is their beef with squashing those who point out that Boston Children’s Hospital is abusing children and instead using the almighty power of the United States Attorney’s Office to protect their friends, the abusers?”

Marty Gottesfeld also issued a statement, “The Boston FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office under President [Barack] Obama allowed Justina Pelletier to be tortured and maimed by their Harvard-affiliated political allies at Boston Children’s Hospital. Then, they sought vengeance on behalf of those allies by bringing a case against me to a judge also closely aligned with the hospital.”

“Now, with their corruption imploding around them, they have taken to threatening my wife in a vain attempt to suppress the truth. I implore the public not to let them succeed and ask the new administration to please end this travesty by instead investigating the torture of Justina,” Marty Gottesfeld added.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is the same office that Carmen Ortiz once oversaw as a U.S. Attorney. Ortiz was responsible for the zealous prosecution of Aaron Swartz for alleged violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The prosecution only came to an end when Swartz committed suicide.

Under Ortiz, the same office developed a reputation for overreach or abuse of power: indicting Tim Sullivan, an aide to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, for refusing to grant permits for a music festival until union hands were hired; charging a U.S. Customs Service receptionist with “inducing” an undocumented immigrant—her housekeeper—to remain in the country; subpoenaing the Belfast Project, “a Boston College archive of oral histories from former fighters on both sides of the late 20th century civil war in Northern Ireland.”

Marty Gottesfeld is in pretrial detention, and the trial is scheduled for January 2018.

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."