Ross Ulbricht’s quest for freedom is bound to be speckled by obstacles, according to fresh reports. Several months after his appeal was denied, U.S. attorneys have filed an appellee brief with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals insisting that the Silk Road founder’s appeal should be denied.
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Furthermore, the document stated that the attorneys were fully behind the decision of the District Court to deny Ulbricht’s appeal.
Katherine B. Forrest, the judge who delivered Ulbricht’s life sentence, denied him the chance to appeal his judgment for reconsideration and to file a motion for fresh trials in accordance to Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal procedure.
Rule 33 says in part that the defendant can file a motion which may lead the court to repeal any judgment and order fresh trials if it is in the interest of serving justice.
Ulbricht’s defense team has filed motions that claim that new relevant data is available. This series of motions were filed by Ulbricht in February as he awaited his certiorari petition, which was still pending.
One motion requested additional time for the former Silk Road founder to prepare and submit a Rule 33 motion based on newly found evidence from the pen register and trap and trace data collected during the course of the Silk Road investigations.
The government had five of these Pen/Trap orders, three of which were contested by Ulbricht’s defense team. The court denied the request for additional time to file a Rule 33 motion that same day.
Attorneys explained why Ulbricht may face a lot of objections filing a motion for fresh trials based on newly discovered evidence.
According to them, motions such as these are typically only granted when the evidence is new and was not a part of the previous trial, when there are facts on which the court can perform due diligence to obtain evidence, when there is materialistic evidence, when the evidence is neither cumulative nor merely impeaching, and when the evidence will, without a shadow of doubt, result in the acquittal of the defendant.
According to the document, the District Court is not at fault for denying Ulbricht’s motion for a time extension to file a Rule 33 motion chiefly because the defendant cannot prove that the Pen/Trap data is newly discovered, whether it is material to his defense, or whether it would lead to an acquittal if they take it to trial.
Ulbricht’s newly discovered evidence consists of Pen/Trap data from three of the five orders purportedly contained in sealed magistrate’s files, newly discovered Pen/Trap data that the government had promised to produce to his defense team, and evidence from the book American Kingpin, which showed that the agency tasked with the Silk Road investigation used Pen/Trap data to monitor not only his location but also his online activities when he was at his residence.
Despite that, U.S. attorneys are adamant in the belief that these challenges are meritless, and that Ulbricht knew about the Pen/Trap data back in 2014.
They also mentioned that the arguments he raised recently had already been raised and rejected by the District Court and now the Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ulbricht will continue to serve his life sentence pending any new developments to the case.