BOSTON (AP) — A federal prosecutor who has been sharply criticized following the suicide of an Internet freedom activist appeared to fight back tears as she defended her office’s handling of a hacking case against him.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz says Aaron Swartz’s family has suffered a “horrible tragedy” and that she is personally “terribly upset about what happened here.” But she says she believes the case was handled fairly.

READ MORE: 'An Influx Of People': Stores In Boston's Seaport Experiencing Boon In Holiday Sales

Ortiz made her remarks Thursday at an unrelated news conference in Boston.

READ MORE: Stamkos Scores In OT To Lead Lightning Past Bruins 3-2

Ortiz has been blasted online by Swartz’s supporters, who believe her office was overly aggressive in charging Swartz with 13 felonies for tapping into MIT’s network to download nearly 5 million academic articles from an online clearinghouse for scholarly journals.

Swartz was found dead in his New York apartment last week.

MORE NEWS: 6 Adults, 6 Children Forced Out Following Fire At Dorchester Triple-Decker

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.