Judge Katherine B. Forrest has denied the most recent set of motions filed by Dread Pirate Roberts, who keeps insisting that the FBI’s monitoring of his online and physical movements represents new evidence.
The latest attempt by Ross William Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts, the mastermind of the notorious online marketplace Silk Road, to secure a rehearing of his case has failed. On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the New York Southern District Court denied the defendant’s petition for rehearing.
Unlike the previous time when the Judge denied the motion, this time she was way more laconic, stating merely that the motion is denied.
This brevity may reflect the fact that the Judge has already explained her position regarding the defendant’s arguments. Let’s recall that on February 5, 2018, when she denied the motion to extend time for a Rule 33 motion, Judge Katherine B. Forrest said: “A rule 33 motion is not an opportunity to re-litigate that which has been litigated, or to engage in a fishing expedition for new evidence”.
She noted back then that the Court took into account that the defendant’s counsel was not involved in the trial, but the transcript reveals that the very evidence to which he now points (that the FBI was monitoring the defendant’s online movements) was explicitly known at the trial. “This is not new news”, the Judge said. No good cause to delay the deadline has been shown, she concluded.
Ulbricht believes that the court has misapprehended, overlooked, or misapplied certain facts and pertinent law. According to him, the court is mistaken in not noting that the evidence the defendant brought to the court’s attention is, in fact, new evidence that was neither disclosed nor known to exist at the time of trial.
What was not known prior to trial, according to Ulbricht’s counsel, was that the US government was using unauthorized surveillance tools to track Ulbricht’s physical movements and location within his residence. Also, the defendant’s counsel says that the government did have additional and material FBI-collected PRTT data (pen register and trap and trace data), evidence that was material to the preparation of the defense because it is data the government relied on in its applications for the laptop and residence search warrants.
The extension of time was requested in order to obtain and examine pen register and trap and trace data.
Ulbricht got a life imprisonment sentence in February 2015. Silk Road operated using the Tor Network and the marketplace users mainly bought and sold drugs, false identification documents, and computer hacking software. Transactions on Silk Road used Bitcoins, favoured because of the anonymity it grants.
The case is captioned USA v. Ulbricht (1:14-cr-00068).