The trial of alleged Silk Road creator, Ross Ulbricht, has been postponed until January 2015. The Silkroad case was initially set to start on 10th November, less than a month away, but the defense counsel requested a postponement of the case. The request was granted by US District Judge Katherine Forrest.
Several charges have been leveled against Ulbricht in connection with the infamous Silkroad marketplace. These charges are drug trafficking, hacking, criminal enterprise, money laundering, and other drug and conspiracy charges. In all the charges, Ulbricht, considered the Silkroad mastermind, has entered a plea of not guilty.
While the prosecution team insists that Ulbricht was the driving force behind Silkroad’s illicit activities, friends, family, and other supporters claim that he has been unjustifiably targeted by the legal system.
According to Ulbricht’s lawyer, Joshua Dratel, the extension of the date for the start of the trial to January next year will help in resolution of many scheduling conflicts. With the trial running into the Christmas holidays, it was felt that the November 10th start date would affect the availability of jurors as well as the continuity of the trial. Dratel later revealed that although the defense placed the request for the postponement, the court did not provide any reasons for granting the request.
The delay of the case until January will also help Ulbricht’s defense get the required evidence to build a case against the accusations made against him with regard to Silkroad. This is especially important since the process of getting evidence on Silkroad is hindered by Ulbricht’s pretrial confinement.
This move by the court is quite a surprise, given the courts adamancy to grant earlier requests by the defense, most notably, the attempt to have the case dismissed in July. Furthermore, barely a week ago, the defense lost in its attempt to discredit evidence obtained on Silkroad from servers based in Iceland.
The FBI, the Ulbricht’s defense argued, had violated the Fourth Amendment through the illegal seizure of the Silkroad servers. The motion for dismissal was rejected by the court on the basis that Ulbricht claimed no ownership of the Silkroad servers seized, and therefore, the argument that they were private property was irrelevant.