Silk Road Mastermind Ask For Re-Trial

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The defense team for Ross Ulbricht who was convicted of creating and operating the Silkroad underground market requested for a retrial. They claim that the United States government used unlawful surveillance to obtain the evidence from the Silkroad server and in addition, they delayed for months before presenting it to the defense.


The statement presented last week in New York South District, show how the prosecutors presented evidence used to convict the Silkroad mastermind and how the jury found him liable of seven offenses. These offenses relates to his association with the Silkroad website, including counts of money laundering conspiracies and narcotics.

Ross Ulbricht, 30 years of age, is yet to be sentenced, but may suffer life imprisonment after a ruling is done later this year. In the meantime, his lawyers are asking the court to reconsider an earlier application to forbid the use of some evidence. The evidence, as the lawyers said, was obtained illegally by the government from the Silkroad server.

The most recent motions have three statements seeking for retrial in the judgment against The Silkroad founder. His lawyers say that Ross was denied his right to a fair and due process trial. The reason for the above is that the government didn’t provide information and evidential material within the timeline required. Secondly, in the addition to the delay of the material made available to Ulbricht lawyers, new queries raised about the surveillance to the Silkroad server which was not well addressed during trial. Lastly, Ulbricht’s attorneys claim that the court should take into consideration a bitcoin expert’s testimony that was not heard during the trial.

The motion reveals that there were documents worth 5000 pages pertaining to a special agent from Homeland Security Investigations- Jared Der-Yeghiayan. The details were availed less than 14 days before trial. Even after reaching the set deadline, 230 new exhibits were brought by the law enforcement. If the defense had been given enough time to analyze the evidence, Ulbricht’s lawyers argue that they would have the ability to suppress the evidence more successfully.

Mark KarpelesText messages between a confidential informant and Jared Der-Yeghiayan, the lawyers argue, demonstrate clearly that the law enforcement was conducting warrant less surveillance on the Silkroad website. The surveillance would enable the security agency to capture details about the origin and what the information passing via the Tor node contained. The confidential informant, in their conversation, told Jared Der-Yeghiayan that he was logging, running and recording all the data from the node as it exited the anonymous network.

This surveillance, Ulbricht’s attorneys says, raises various novel 4th Amendment concerns and gives more evidence that that the law enforcement discovered the information about the Silkroad server through warrant less surveillance. In addition, further messages between the two reveals plans for the law enforcement to launch a denial-of-service attack against Silkroad. The purpose for this was to “listen” to the servers of Silkroad. Though it is unclear from the text messages information whether the law enforcement ever did the DDOS attack, it is clear from the recorded evidence that the DDOS attacks occurred against the Silkroad servers.

Together with the failure of the bitcoin expert to give a testimony as planned, Joshua Dratel, the lead attorney, stated that the case could have been changed remarkably. He hopes that the court will give a chance for a retrial. Prosecutors will be required to give a response to the motions of the defense by April. If she doesn’t agree to order for a retrial, The Judge for The US District, Catherine Forrest will sentence The Silkroad mastermind on 15th May.

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