In a surprising change of events, Shaun Bridges, who was appealing his six-year sentence for his actions during the takedown of Silk Road, has decided to waive his rights to do so – hence the counsel has decided to dismiss the case.
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During a brief discussion by the three-judge panel, they went through the case and everything that had happened so far in association with Bridges, who is under custody for Bitcoin theft.
When Bridges applied for a waiver on his appeal, the panel didn’t have to think twice because it has already been part of the plea agreement submitted in 2015.
Charges include money laundering and obstruction of justice.
The hearing also allowed Davina Pujari to withdraw from her position as counsel for Bridges.
After going through the case, Bridges was awarded a 71-month sentence for his interference in the Silk Road investigation.
There is no respite from the period as the panel clarified that the defendant didn’t produce any pro se briefs or even an answer to support his appeal claim.
In their statement, they added that the person has already waived off his right to appeal.
There is no way to bring him out of conviction for his theft of Silk Road evidence, and the sentence that he is supposed to serve for the specified period.
The issue dates back to the first hearing and the appeal made by Bridges apart from the allegations that he agreed to having been involved in.
Bridges admitted during the August 2015 investigation that he made use of his position in the Silk Road task force to steal bitcoins.
According to his statement, the investigator made use of the administrative access to Silk Road and stole 20,000 bitcoins from various users who used to regularly purchase items on Silk Road.
In US currency, his Bitcoin theft was worth at least $800,000 at the time, which was diverted to his account.
When the allegations were proved with evidence, Bridges was sentenced to nearly six years in prison in December 2015.
Based on the court documents, it can also be confirmed that he had to forfeit $1.1 million and the agent, who is also the defendant, appealed after he was sentenced in the case.
Later in 2016, the public defender refused to represent Bridges because of conflict of interest, and the position was taken by Pujari to continue the appeal on behalf of the former investigator.
After Pujari took over the case, she went on to file a motion to withdraw in August.
In her appeal, she confirmed that the records have been examined, the case law and relevant statuses that the motion was based on had been verified.
The prosecutor made sure to explore all the possible ways that could deter Bridges from having his appeal getting sanctioned.
The case focused on Shaun Bridges transferring bitcoins from Silk Road in order to have a suspect in the case and to prove the illegal transactions Silk Road had been making.
A victim named Curtis Green was produced in the court, who was later termed as a ‘surprise victim’ who came out of seemingly nowhere and has been making rather drastic claims.
The judge panel opined that the legitimacy of the victim is questionable, and there is no point in trying to include their statements in the plea agreement.
Continuing with his plea agreement, Bridges argued that the surprise victim or the judgment will in no way affect his plea agreement, as it belongs to a different part of the law.
He further argued that the losses incurred during the alleged Bitcoin theft from Silk Road has been significantly increased, leading to the large sentence.
Bridges is not the first investigator to be accused of Bitcoin theft.
He is the second person, as the first complaint was filed against Carl M. Force – a special agent who worked with the U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration. He decided to plead guilty in 2015. He was accused for the theft of $700,000 worth of Bitcoin with the help of his Baltimore team, and was sentenced to 78-months in prison.
Force and Shaun Bridges worked in the same team to take down Silk Road, a site on the dark web run by Ross Ulbricht, more commonly known by his pseudonym of Dread Pirate Roberts within the community.
The first federal prosecution took place in 2015.
Ulbricht, who was accused in the case for selling drugs and other illegal materials, was sentenced to life in person.