It has been nearly a year since Ross Ulbricht was convicted in all seven charges filed against him for his substantial role as the figurehead in the running of Silk Road, the infamously anonymous dark web drug marketplace.
The new appeal, acquired by Wired, was submitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Unit by Ulbricht’s defense and contains a comprehensive list of arguments that fundamentally attest to Ulbricht being denied a fair trial.
The appeal stated that the court had abused its discretion and denied Ulbricht his rights to a due process, presenting a defense and a fair trial. Ulbricht’s defense argued that they weren’t made privy to the evidence relating to DEA agent Carl Force’s corruption, a charge that saw him sentenced to 6 years in prison.
Ulbricht’s lawyers also claim the court refused to order the government to provide additional material regarding Force’s corruption. Fundamentally, Joshua Dratel – Ulbricht’s lead attorney wrote that Force’s misdeeds were hidden from the defense until after the trial and even until after post-trial.
An excerpt from the filing read:
Force was not the only corrupt federal law enforcement agentinvolved in the Silk Road investigation, as a Treasury Special Agent, Shaun Bridges, was also under investigation for conduct in concert with, related to, and similar to Force’s (and had also been interviewed, and therefore cognizant of the investigation, prior to December 2014) – yet the government never mentioned or alluded to Bridges at all in its pretrial disclosures.
Following the above statement, the defense argued that ‘contrary to the government’s claim [that] Force’s (and Bridge’s) corruption was not independent of prosecution.’ Furthermore, ‘the information about Force (and Bridges)’ were deemed by his defense as ‘relevant, exculpatory, and material,’ evidence that would have proved to
The defense added:
Thus, in denying Ulbricht’s post-trial Rule 33 motion based on the Force and Bridges corruption and the government’s knowing failure to make full disclosure prior to trial, the Court further abused its discretion. As a result, Ulbricht’s convictions should be vacated, and a new trial ordered.
Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges plead guilty for his part in the theft of bitcoins from the Silk Road investigation in June 2015. Later that month, former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Carl Force also plead guilty for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin. Shaun Bridges was sentenced to 71 months in prison, whereas Carl Force was sentenced to 78 months in prison.
Image from Shutterstock.