Mother of Silk Road Founder Remains Hopeful President Trump Will Pardon Her Son

Silhouette of the President of the United States of America Donald Trump while attending a conference
Lyn Ulbricht continues hope that President Donald Trump’s executive pardon could mean freedom for her son, the incarcerated founder of Silk Road.

Lyn Ulbricht is still hopeful that U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive pardon could mean that her son, Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, will one day go free.

In 2015, a judge gave Ross Ulbricht two life sentences in addition to 40 years after the authorities arrested him two years prior for the role he played as the creator and head operator of Silk Road, a darknet marketplace. The sentencing came without an option of parole.

In a recent interview with the Yahoo Finance U.K., Lyn Ulbricht accepted that her son’s work and the Silk Road’s foundation was a “reckless idea.” However, she said that her son did not start the platform with an aim of harming others; his ultimate idea was to push the advancement of free markets and privacy.

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The Longstanding Clemency Petition

The debate on the sentencing of Ross Ulbricht has remained one of the contentious issues in the U.S. Some individuals believe that the sentence was just, but others think that the government’s decision was draconian.

In July 2018, Lyn Ulbricht started a petition on Change.org which asks for Ross’ clemency. The petition notes that the sentence was very harsh, mainly because no charges were violent and he did not have a criminal history. Over 100,000 individuals have already signed the petition.

Several public figures in the crypto ecosystem including Shapeshift CEO Eric Voorhees and Litecoin Founder Charlie Lee have supported the “Free Ross” movement and even tweeted the link to the petition.

Lyn Ulbricht explained that she is hopeful because Trump has already granted clemency to several individuals. She also emphasized that if she lives, she will not bring herself to allow her son to rot in prison. She elaborated that the labeling of her son as a “kingpin” and the charge with serious crimes was a serious “abuse of power.”

During the interview, Lyn exclaimed that Ross is not Pablo Escobar and recalled the heartaches she suffered when dealing with the arrest and the trials that followed.

Conceptual image of a handgun with a roll of money surrounded by scattered bullets and cartridges on an old weathered wooden surface with copyspace depicting crime, a payoff, robbery or bribe
Part of Ross Ulbricht’s arrest and trial centralized around allegations of arranging for a murder-for-hire aimed at taking out particular individuals.

Was the Murder-For-Hire Real?

Part of Ross Ulbricht’s arrest and trial centralized around allegations of arranging for a murder-for-hire aimed at taking out particular individuals.

Lyn Ulbricht stated that she believes the entire scheme was a sting organized by another individual logged onto Dread Pirate Roberts’ account (Ross’ online alias) when he had left. She claimed that all the alleged chat logs relating to the situation featured a distinctive writing format and style and were very different from Ross’ way of communication.

Lyn also indicated that Ross was doing well in the U.S. Penitentiary Florence prison in which he is incarcerated, and he has managed to maintain connections with the outside world. He has been dictating tweets to his visitors and receiving notes and letters.

Background: Ross’ Arrest

Ross Ulbricht started the Silk Road, an online marketplace similar to eBay that allowed buyers and sellers to use Bitcoin in their transactions—a relatively obscure currency at the time.

Among the key features that differentiated the marketplace from others was the loose rules relating to the sold items. The marketplace forbade some things like stolen goods and child exploitation material but allowed drugs and, as a result, it became the marketplace for illegal narcotics.

By early 2013, most of the listings on Silk Road were drugs such as heroin, ecstasy and cannabis. Sales estimates stood at around $200 million to $1 billion. The FBI traced the anonymous operator of the site, known online as Dread Pirate Roberts, to Ross Ulbricht.

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