Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht is returning to the federal court in hopes of overturning his conviction and life sentence for running what was described as one of the most sophisticated criminal marketplaces on the internet.
Lawyers for the 32-year-old are making an appearance at the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York on Thursday to appeal for a new trial, according to the Wall Street Journal.
For this fresh bid, the lawyers will focus on the U.S. government’s “calculated failure” to disclose the full extent of its federal agents’ misconduct until after the trial ended. The Justice Department revealed more than a year ago that two federal agents, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration and Secret Service, had stolen thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin from Silk Road. The agents, Carl Mark Force IV and Shaun Bridges, are serving their sentences in prison after pleading guilty to the charges.
However, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who presided over Ulbricht’s case, forbade mentioning the two agents to the jury, which Ulbricht’s lawyers believe was “a violation of Ulbricht’s right to a fair trial.”
Ulbricht ran the website under the name Dead Pirate Roberts between 2011 and 2013, when he was caught red-handed by a law enforcement sting in a San Francisco coffee shop. He was found guilty by the Manhattan jury on seven charges, including drug trafficking, money laundering and a whole host of other cyber crimes. He faces a lifetime behind bars without possibility of parole when sentencing was handed out in May 2015, which his lawyers called “unconscionable.”
Forrest also ordered Ulbricht to forfeit around $183 million.
Meanwhile, federal authorities also arrested Roger Thomas Clark in Thailand in 2015. The Canadian, who also went by the name Variety Jones, is believed to be a close confidante of Ulbricht. U.S. prosecutors said Clark advised the Silk Road owner on all aspects of the website’s operations and also “helped him grow the site into an extensive criminal enterprise.”
Current bitcoin price and trade volume
The price of bitcoin rose to $609 on Thursday morning, with a trade volume of $102,696.38.