You may have seen the news today that Ross Ulbricht, the man who created the Silk Road, the world’s most infamous black market “darknet” site, has been sentenced to life in federal prison with no possibility of parole. Given the unfair trial he was subjected to from start-to-finish, the fact that he did not take a plea, and because the feds want to “send a message” to underground market operators and participants, it’s sad but no surprise he got the maximum. Ross plans to appeal and fundraising is being done for that now.
If you’ve been reading the Free Keene blog, you probably already know there was some controversy in the first week of the Ross Ulbricht Silk Road court case this year. A contingent of hard-core Keene liberty activists car-pooled down to Manhattan to join with other activists from around the globe to protest and perform jury nullification outreach in front of the courthouse. As a result, the tyrannical judge in the case threatened the jury with sequestering if the activists didn’t stop their free speech. After a meeting with Ross’ mother, Lyn, the activists agreed to back down.
One of the big questions at the time was, what did Ross want? We knew what his understandably-frightened mother and his court-obedient attorney wanted, but was their wish Ross’ wish?
Local liberty activist David Crawford decided to write Ross and find out. Unfortunately, Ross didn’t write back until after his conviction, and in what may be the first publicly available letter from Ross Ulbricht, he exonerates the liberty-loving activists who came out to support him.
Ross thanks the activists for their support at trial and says he’s glad they were there, doesn’t think they did anything wrong, and appreciated their effort. He also expresses hope to not receive the life sentence. The full text of the letter appears below.
I got your letter a few weeks back, thank you for writing, and thank you for your support at the trial. I’m glad you were there protesting. You should be able to voice your opinions and hold signs, especially at a courthouse where it is especially important to have that freedom. I know it was touchy because the judge wanted to control what the jury was exposed to, but I don’t think you did anything wrong and I appreciate you trying to help even though I was found guilty in the end. Now I have to focus on sentencing. I really don’t want to get that life sentence even though I know the prosecutors will be pushing for it. Please thank the others that were with you showing me support at trial if you get a chance. 🙂
(February 24th, 2015)
You can write to Ross at the address listed on FreeRoss.org and also donate to his appeal.
P.S. This story was originally posted in early March and then quickly pulled at the request of Ross and his family. They were worried it might affect his chances at sentencing. It didn’t. So, I’m reposting it now.