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Photo Courtesy of Keker & Van Nest, LLP
Elliot R. Peters is an attorney at Keker and Van Nest.
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Swartz gets high-powered attorneys

Aaron Swartz has a new legal team. The Internet activist accused of mass downloading files from JSTOR through the MIT network has hired top San Francisco law firm Keker and Van Nest to represent him, according to court filings on Wednesday. Keker is a medium-sized law firm specializing in intellectual property law.

Swartz’s Keker legal team will be lead by Elliot R. Peters. Peters notably represented the now-discredited athlete Lance Armstrong when he was investigated for doping by the Department of Justice — an investigation that ended early this year with no charges against Armstrong.

Peters was named one of sixteen “Attorneys of the Year” by The Recorder, a California legal trade publication, for his work representing Major League Baseball. Keker was named “Litigation Boutique of the Year” for 2002–2005 by American Lawyer magazine.

Keker also represented Google successfully in Oracle v. Google earlier this year; Google prevailed and Oracle’s copyright claims were ruled invalid, or in the case of nine lines of code, irrelevant.

Keker’s filing said they do not intend to ask for any schedule changes; Swartz’s trial is currently scheduled for Feb. 4, 2013.

Swartz was previously represented by Martin Weinberg, a sole proprietor in the Boston area specializing in criminal defense.

Peters declined to comment, and did not answer an inquiry of whether he was being paid to represent Swartz.

MIT, when asked in October about its release of network transaction logs of suspicious activity to law enforcement, said it did so to “protect its network.” When asked, MIT declined to provide further information, saying that their policy is not to comment on pending litigation.

John A. Hawkinson