Silk Road’s mastermind Ross Ulbricht seeks access to evidence in an effort to vacate sentence

Maria Nikolova

Ross William Ulbricht, also known as Dread Pirate Roberts, is now developing his motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence.

Ross William Ulbricht, also known as Dread Pirate Roberts, the mastermind of Silk Road, the notorious marketplace that used Bitcoins for its transactions, is once again trying to challenge his sentence.

In a set of documents filed with the New York Southern District Court on June 11, 2019 (and re-filed today), the defendant states that he is working on his motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (his “habeas petition”), to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence, because: his sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States; or the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence; or the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law; or the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack.

Mr. Ulbricht was tried in the New York Southern District Court in a 13-day jury trial and on February 4, 2015, the jury brought back guilty verdicts on all charges in the indictment. Ulbricht was sentenced on May 28, 2015, to serve two concurrent life sentences, plus 40 years. He is currently serving his sentence in the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona.

Let’s recall that, in March this year, a panel at the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued an Order effectively nixing Ulbricht’s request for rehearing.

In the latest set of documents filed with the Court, Ulbricht requests leave from the court, and authorization, to discover the contents of three sealed magistrate files. According to the defendant, these files which should, as required by statute, contain evidence which either corroborates or contradicts the statements made under oath by law enforcement in their search warrant applications when they sought, and obtained, search warrants authorizing the seizure and search of Mr. Ulbricht’s laptop computer, and authorizing the search of his residence.

Ulbricht says that those files may also show whether the FBI’s data collections efforts exceeded the authorization provided by the pen-trap orders.

Ulbricht requests an order allowing him to receive and use, as appropriate in his § 2255 proceeding, the content of three sealed magistrate files. He also requests whatever further relief the court finds just and equitable.

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