Ulbricht Not To Testify On His own Defense

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Ross William UlbrichtRoss Ulbricht, the 30-year old alleged mastermind behind the online black market the Silk Road will not be testifying in his own defense. That decision had been put off by Ross Ulbricht and his lawyers, but U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest asked Ross about it directly on Monday, after the U.S. government wrapped up its case against him. Ross Ulbricht replied “I am not going to testify, Your Honor”.


Some legal experts have said that putting the alleged mastermind of the Silk Road on the witness stand would be a perilous decision, since it would leave him vulnerable to a tough cross examination by the U.S. government prosecutors. But Ulbricht is allowed to change his mind on Tuesday as his defense lawyers continue to put on their case.

On Monday,the defense called its first three witnesses, all of whom said that they knew Ulbricht, the alleged ringleader of the Silk Road since his childhood in Austin, Texas, and testified to his “gentle” and “kind” nature. But Ross Ulbricht’s case was dealt a blow due to the fact that the two expert witnesses that Ross Ulbricht’s lawyers wanted to testify will not be permitted to do so. Judge Katherine Forrest forbade both of them from talking to the jury. Ulbricht’s defense lawyers wanted to call Steven Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor to testify on a wide variety of computer issues and Andreas Antonopoulos, an information security expert to testify as a Bitcoin expert.

Judge Katherine Forrest Judge Forrest criticized Ulbricht’s defense for not giving adequate lead time on the witnesses and said that disclosures on both expert witnesses were essentially too late, too little. Forrest also said that Ulbricht’s defense late disclosure about the experts was “a tactical choice” and that the possibility that defendant may want to call expert witnesses was long known.

Closing arguments in the Ross Ulbricht’s trial, which began three weeks ago, are expected to take place on Tuesday, and the jury of six women and six men could begin deliberating as early as Wednesday.