Silk Road Founder’s Request for New Trial Dismissed

Authentic restored antique jury’s box in courthouse
Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the now-defunct darknet marketplace Silk Road, has again lost his bid for a new trial.

Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the infamous darknet marketplace Silk Road has lost his latest bid for a new trial.

Ulbricht sought to push for a new trial using newly found evidence, but the court dismissed his request by terming the appeal as “untimely.”

What’s more, the court also denied his request for a time extension to gather new evidence, outlining that reimagining old evidence as gathered from three pen/traps did not entitle Ulbricht to a new trial.


Silk Road Case

Silk Road was an online marketplace that facilitated the trading of illegal merchandise such as firearms and drugs by use of the digital currency Bitcoin. The marketplace was shut down by authorities in 2013 after they arrested Ulbricht, who was then going by the online alias “Dead Pirate Roberts.”

In 2015, Ulbricht was convicted of money laundering, conspiracy to distribute narcotics and computer hacking. His final judgement was a double life sentence plus 40 years, without the possibility of parole.

During the trial, Ulbricht’s defense team outlined that the government was portraying him more of a “facilitator” of the alleged illegal transactions on Silk Road, rather than a co-conspirator. However, the judge asserted that Silk Road was intentionally and specifically designed to establish a broad black marketplace for money laundering and illegal transactions, such as the sale of narcotics.

Not the First Request Dismissed

United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.
United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

Since his sentencing, Ulbricht and his legal team have attempted to get a new trial for his case several times—all of which have been rejected by the courts.

In his last appeal, Ulbricht argued that the data gathered in the government’s pen/trap orders (a method of collecting evidence by federal investigators) could still be considered evidence to grant him a new trial.

But earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals denied Ulbricht’s request, recalling that he had moved to suppress the evidence captured in these orders during his trail years ago. Accordingly, the data could not be considered as new evidence.

This Court of Appeals’ statement reaffirms an earlier decision made last year by the U.S. District Court based on the same reasoning.



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