Silk Road Trial: Defense Lawyer objected To The Omission Of The Internet symbol

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Emoticons (Happy)Internet symbols, otherwise known as an emoticons or an emojis, have formed the most recent subplot in the ongoing high-profile case involving the alleged Silkroad operator, Ross Ulbricht. The issue came up after the prosecution conspicuously ignored a smiley face, a popular Internet symbol that was part of a message Ulbricht had sent.


Ulbricht’s lawyer, Joshua L. Dratel objected to the omission, claiming that it was critically important, yet the prosecutors had chosen to omit it. The trial judge, Katherine B. Forrest, ruled in favor of the defense, and since then the prosecution has had to include all emoticons used in Ulbricht’s private communications when reading the evidence.

Understandably, this has made the Silkroad hearing quite awkward. Nevertheless, this is not the first time unusual changes have had to be introduced into the hearing in the Silkroad case. More than a week ago, the court had to be told what “IRL” meant, which in web talk stands for “in real life”. In regard to the emoticon, the judge claimed that it was part of the evidence.

Silk Road MarketplaceThe Silkroad trial, which has been going on for the past three weeks, has seen more than its fair share of twists and turns. For instance, the defense has denied the claim that Ulbricht ran Silkroad under the alias of “Dread Pirate Roberts”, as was earlier shown to be the case earlier in the trial.

Ross Ulbricht is charged with creating and running the online black market site, Silkroad, and the trial has just started. Ulbricht is also considered a co-conspirator in the thriving underground illicit market that included trading in drugs and other illicit products through the now defunct Silkroad platform. Silkroad was the Internet underworld version of e-Bay, a place where illicit and anonymous trading activity could take place unhindered on a hidden part of the Internet called the Tor Network.