Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht seeks case rehearing, says US Govt used unlawful surveillance

Maria Nikolova

“The government should not be allowed to profit from its discovery violations and possible unlawful surveillance”, says the counsel for Dread Pirate Roberts.

Ross William Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts, the mastermind of the notorious online marketplace Silk Road, is pushing for a rehearing of his case based on what he sees as new evidence revealed in Bilton’s book “American Kingpin”. After Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the New York Southern District Court denied a motion for an extension of time so that the defendant submit his Rule 33 Motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, Ublricht’s counsel is now requesting that the Court reconsiders its decision from February 5, 2018.

On Tuesday, February 20, 2018, the defendant’s counsel submitted a petition for rehearing, asking that the court vacate its February 5, 2018 order denying the request for extension of time.

Ulbricht believes that the court has misapprehended, overlooked, or misapplied certain facts and pertinent law.

According to Ulbricht, 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, says 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, according to the defendant’s counsel, 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 requested extension of time is needed to obtain and examine pen register and trap and trace data.

“The government should not be allowed to profit from its discovery violations and possible unlawful surveillance”, says the defendant’s counsel.

The counsel for the defendant is asking for a 90-day extension of time in which to submit his Rule 33 Motion.

Let’s recall that Mr 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.

According to the government, between 2011 and 2013, Silk Road was used by thousands of vendors to sell about $183 million worth of illegal drugs, along with other goods and services. Ulbricht, acting as DPR, generated millions of dollars in profits from the commissions collected by Silk Road on purchases.

In May 2017, the 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Ulbricht’s life imprisonment sentence.

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