Joshua Dratel, Ross Ulbricht’s lawyer, told reporters last November that after meeting his client for the first time he planned to show that Ulbricht was not guilty. He wanted the world to see that Ulbricht was not “Dread Pirate Roberts” who is said to have created the Silk Road, a black market website dealing with drug trafficking.
Ross Ulbricht, 29- year old, was accused of money laundering, computer hacking and drug trafficking through the Silk Road, a black market website dealing with the digital currency, bitcoin. Yesterday, Friday the 7th, he pleaded not guilty to all charges in a Manhattan court. These include charges such as: Ulbricht formed and supervised the Silk Road. The Silk Road was the infamous website found to facilitate drug trafficking and money laundering. It was shut down by the government back in October 2013.
The charges placed against Ulbricht on Tuesday claimed that he conspired to traffic narcotics, hack computers, and of money laundering. He was also accused of engaging in a “continuing criminal enterprise,” aka “kingpin statute” which is often referred to the mafia and cartel bosses.
The Other Side of Not Guilty
On the other hand, there are reports which suggest that Ulbricht pleaded not guilty and is actually looking into making a deal with the prosecutors. The reports suggest that he might be willing to take down his former alleged Silk Road employees and other users from the black market for a lighter sentence by making a deal with the prosecuters. These rumors were started as a result of the arrests of three more alleged Silk Road employees in December. BitInstant’s CEO, Charlie Shrem and Robert M. Faiella, also known as “BTCKing”, were charged last month with money laundering in connection to the Silk Road.
Prosecutors said in the indictment that they have between 8 to 10 terabytes of evidence that they plan to share with the defense and possibly use in Ulbricht’s trial. The trial is now set to four to six weeks beginning in early November.
Several months will be given to the defence to review the material. Ross Ulbricht will be given access to a laptop at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC Brooklyn) so he can read through the material against him himself.
Dratel would not comment on his plan for Ulbrict’s defense when speaking to reporters outside of the courtroom. There were hints dropping of him questioning law enforcement’s ways of gaining evidence. This suggests that the evidence obtained was partly due to illegal or incorrect actions on the part of law enforcers. He said,
“We’ll look back on this five years from now and say ‘what were all these sinister connotations around Bitcoin.'”
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