Silk Road Mastermind Appeals Judge’s Denial of New Trial

Ross Ulbricht, the man who masterminded the Silk Road network under the alias ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’, is appealing Judge Katherine B. Forrest’s decision to deny him a new trial.

The decisions Ulbricht is appealing took place on February 5th and 21st of this year, when Judge Forrest refused his request for a rehearing and a time extension for a Rule 33 motion. In regards to her decision, Judge Forrest said that “a Rule 33 motion is not an opportunity to re-litigate that which has been litigated, or to engage in a fishing expedition for new evidence.”

Ulbricht’s appeal claims that the court has overlooked or misused key facts and laws that could have resulted in a different sentencing. Currently, Ulbricht is facing a double life sentence with no chance of parole. Additionally, Ulbricht’s legal counsel asserts that he has new evidence–the fact that the FBI had been using unauthorized surveillance tools to monitor his online activities and physical location within his home.

The time extension was requested to obtain PRTT (pen register and trap and trace) data that was collected by the FBI.

However, Judge Forrest dismissed Ulbricht’s claims, saying that the FBI’s involvement is “not news.” Citing the trial’s transcript, she maintains that the full extent FBI’s activities were known during the original trial, and has concluded that there is no good cause to grant Ulbricht’s requests.

Dark Tales of the Deep Web

Silk Road was a renowned ‘deep web’ marketplace for drugs, hits-for-hire, false identification documents, and other contraband. Ulbricht rose from total anonymity to international infamy after it was discovered that he was the principle orchestrator of the network.

Police reports later revealed that Ulbricht had conducted much of the business related to the network at Momi Toby’s Revolution Cafe & Art Bar; he was eventually arrested at Glen Park Branch Library in San Francisco in 2013.

The use of Bitcoin as the currency of choice on the Silk Road network has given cryptocurrency a close association with criminal activity, a reputation that follows the industry to this day.

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