Ross Ulbricht Vindicates Trial Activists in First-Released Letter From Prison

ross_ulbricht

Ross Ulbricht, Hero

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?

Free Keene Bloggers James Cleaveland and Jay Freeville Outside the Ulbricht Trial

Free Keene Bloggers James Cleaveland and Jay Freeville Outside the Ulbricht Trial

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.

Dear David,

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. 🙂

-Ross
(February 24th, 2015)

You can write to Ross at the address listed on FreeRoss.org and also donate to his appeal.

You can meet Ross’ mother, Lyn, at Porcfest 2015 next month, as she’ll be speaking about this harrowing experience at the yearly camping festival thrown by the Free State Project.

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.

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43 Comments

  1. It’s seems the article is written to chastise those who were involved in the case. Robert Ulbricht – “A jury found the 30-year-old Californian guilty on all counts, including money laundering, drug trafficking and computer hacking. He was found guilty of moving illegal narcotics in a large volume. The money he made he would launder. He was not a good person.

    Ian said, ” 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”.  That is not true. He had his due process. There wasn’t an unfair trial. He had his chances to explain himself but he didn’t take the stand. There were mountains of evidence against him. I do not believe he will ever get out of prison.

    This article doesn’t say one would about how “Ulbricht” was a good person or anything about his accomplishments being positive. That says more than what was written in this article.

  2. Buh-bye, scumbag.  I’ll bet he finds himself a real nice husband in prison.

  3. Jumping Jacks 

    If Ross U. was not a good person (I don’t know him) wouldn’t his “crimes” have been committed against another person or their property?  Did he assault someone or steal their stuff or force them to give him money under threat of violence?  I hope he didn’t sink to that level, that would make him a politician wouldn’t it?  He didn’t hold office anywhere did he?

    It seems his “crimes” were actually facilitating transactions among willing people.  At least some of his “crimes” , if not all, consisted of disobedience against the government rather than actually committing fraud, theft or assault.  

    Lots of people believe he was given life due failure to obey, not for actually harming another person or their property.   I’d have to say he’s very much a political prisoner.  How is that possible to be sentenced to life in prison for a nonviolent “crime” in the “land of the free”?

  4. If you want to run drugs and money safely there is only one way.  Get a job with the CIA go to Afghanistan and get to helping the US deep state run the Modern Opium War.

  5. Dread Pirate Roberts

    Wouldn’t it be better if Ross U. committed a crime to have him restitute the actual victims (if there were any) than to victimize more people by forcing them to pay to imprison him the rest of his life?  

    Also, are you a real Pirate?

  6. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks You said, “his “crimes” have been committed against another person or their property”?  Yes, his crimes were committed against another person or the property.

    You said, “It seems his “crimes” were actually facilitating transactions among willing people.  At least some of his “crimes” , if not all, consisted of disobedience against the government rather than actually committing fraud, theft or assault”.  I suggest you read this link.  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/nyregion/ross-ulbricht-creator-of-silk-road-website-is-sentenced-to-life-in-prison.html?_r=0

    You said, “Lots of people believe he was given life due failure to obey, not for actually harming another person or their property.   I’d have to say he’s very much a political prisoner.  How is that possible to be sentenced to life in prison for a nonviolent “crime” in the “land of the free”?  What he did harmed people. 

    “Mr. Ulbricht was http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/nyregion/man-behind-silk-road-website-is-convicted-on-all-counts.html on charges that included engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise and distributing narcotics on the Internet, each of which carried potential life terms. The government had also alleged that he had solicited the murders of people he saw as threats to his operation, and that at least six deaths were attributable to drugs bought on the site.
    “Make no mistake, Ulbricht was a drug dealer and criminal profiteer who exploited people’s addictions and contributed to the deaths of at least six young people,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement”.   New York Times

    He was never a “political prisoner”.  Again, what he did was violent and created victims.

  7. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks 

    To make things worse, Ross has been ordered to pay “restitution” on the order of $183M. Not to his victims of course (since there aren’t any) but instead to the Federal Government. The restitution was calculated by the prosecution to include the total number of drugs and counterfeit ID’s sold on the Silk Road to its willing customers. To an insane person, this form of restitution is entirely logical, since it’s a crime to earn profit from contraband, unless of course you’re the government in which case all profit earned is, by default, theirs to collect.

    Seizing contraband has always been big business for government thugs, as raiding black market operations can be immensely profitable to those employed to enforce prohibition statutes. All the enforcers have to do is allow black market operations to flourish until they’ve amassed sufficient profits. Then the enforcers swoop in and loot the operation. Rinse and repeat. And they say crime doesn’t pay?

  8. now a good, good lawyer needs to bring suit against govt. distribution of alcohol.

  9. Dread Pirate Roberts Uhh, what part of that article is about me?  Please point it out.

  10. Drac Vermell WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks You said, “Ross has been ordered to pay “restitution” on the order of $183M. Not to his victims of course (since there aren’t any) but instead to the Federal Government” That is true. The money is also in trust in case there are lawsuits.

    You said, “Not to his victims of course (since there aren’t any)”

    Robert Ulbricht created multiple victims by allowing people to sell and purchase illegal drugs among other things. He tried to hide his profits ect.. in bitcoin but it didn’t work for him.

    The worse part about this is, people died as a result of his actions.

    “The government said they identified six individuals who overdosed and died of drugs they purchased on Silk Road”. The Wall street Journal 

    “The government also accused Mr. Ulbricht of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the murders of at least five people who threatened his criminal enterprise”.

    Ulbricht is in prison because he put himself there. He chose to go underground and take part in criminal activities.

  11. Jumping Jacks Drac Vermell WEEDA CLAUS

    “The money is also in trust in case there are lawsuits.”
    No. The money is not in a trust. In fact 29,657 of the bitcoins seized were sold on an online auction in June 2014. The money from that sale was deposited into the US Treasury. Another 144,342 were kept and are currently in the process of being converted and liquidated. As there are no bitcoin exchanges (now that Mt. Gox is defunct) that can deal with bitcoin volumes of that size, the liquidation of Ross’s remaining assets will take time, but you can be certain that when they finally are, these proceeds will also be deposited into the US Treasury, and not into a trust. Any remaining money Ross owes will come from Ross’s future earnings in prison.
    Notably, any additional restitution Ross might be ordered to pay from future civil lawsuits (e.g., those six people who allegedly overdosed on Silk Road products), will also come from Ross’s prison earnings. None of his confiscated profits will be applied to such awards, despite the fact that this would involve restitution to real victims. The US government gets to keep it all, while any victims discovered later (if any) will get nothing. Do you think that’s justice?

    “Robert Ulbricht created multiple victims by allowing people to sell and purchase illegal drugs among other things.”
    I thought you fancied yourself as a consequentialist? How can people buying and selling ILLEGAL drugs be victims? Are you suggesting that people who you believe to be willingly breaking the law have somehow become Ross’s victims because he gave them a venue for them to do it in? By your own logic shouldn’t they be criminals as well, and subject to the same “consequences” that you insist all law-breakers must suffer? How can they be criminals on one hand, yet victims on the other? Your logic (as usual) is inconsistent.

    “The government said they identified six individuals who overdosed and died of drugs they purchased on Silk Road… …The government also accused Mr. Ulbricht of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the murders of at least five people who threatened his criminal enterprise.”.
    Your quote from the Wall Street Journal is merely anecdotal evidence. There is no evidence that the drugs involved in those overdoses came from the Silk Road. That is all conjecture, as is the claim that Ross put out murder contracts on five witnesses for the prosecution. Anecdotal evidence is not evidence. You seem to make this mistake a lot.
    To be clear, Ross was convicted of seven charges: distributing or aiding and abetting the distribution of narcotics,
    distributing narcotics or aiding and abetting distribution over
    the internet, conspiracy to violate narcotics laws, conspiracy to run a continuing criminal
    enterprise, and conspiracy charges for
    computer hacking, distributing false identifications, and money
    laundering.
    None of those charges included five counts of first degree murder (which murder for hire is recognized as). Since no evidence of murder contracts was ever presented during the trial, it’s more than likely this claim was a ploy used by the FBI to convince the judge to deny Ross bail. And this same ploy was used again just days before Ross’s trial when his defense attorneys were denied full access to the list of the prosecution’s witnesses until only two days before the trial. This action significantly hampered Ross’s defense attorneys during his trial.
    Ross’s criminal charges were comprised entirely of statutory offenses. All were all crimes of disobedience. Ross was not being tried for causing the overdose deaths of six people, nor was he charged for placing murder contracts on five others. Ross was charged with not obeying the government’s dictates on the sale of contraband.
    Unfortunately for lovers of freedom, statutory offenses such as prohibition laws are very profitable for the government agents that prosecute them. Why? Because prohibition laws outlaw even innocuous things, turning them into contraband. Since consumers still demand these outlawed items, the only sources for them are black markets. Because trade in contraband incurs risk, black markets have very high profit margins. And it’s the confiscation of those profits that encourages government agents to enforce prohibition laws with such zeal.

    “Ulbricht is in prison because he put himself there. He chose to go underground and take part in criminal activities.”
    No. Ross is in prison because he provided a venue for black market services. He ran a business outside official government approval. Because it was a black market operation, Ross also couldn’t surrender the subsequent tribute (taxes) expected from all business owners. To bureaucrats this is the greatest sin of all and it’s usually punished the most harshly. But what insane person would consider such punishment justice? I know of one.

  12. Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS

    So if a person dies of alcohol poisoning in NH you’d be willing to put Maggie Hassan in prison for life?

  13. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks Alcohol is legal. The laws regarding alcohol are different. Marijuana is not legal. To  compare the two is wrong. They are two very different substances.

  14. Drac Vermell Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS You said, “No. The money is not in a trust. In fact 29,655 of the bitcoins seized were sold on an online auction in June 2014. The money from that sale was deposited into the US Treasury. Another 144,342 were kept and are currently in the process of being converted and liquidated”.  Can you post a true link regarding that statement I am interested.

    You said, ” despite the fact that this would involve restitution to real victims. The US government gets to keep it all, while any victims discovered later (if any) will get nothing. Do you think that’s justice”? The victims can sue if they want to. Remember, most of the transactions on his website was for illegal purchases.

    You said, “I thought you fancied yourself as a consequentialist? How can people buying and selling ILLEGAL drugs be victims? Are you suggesting that people who you believe to be willingly breaking the law have somehow become Ross’s victims because he gave them a venue for them to do it in”? Ulbricht provided and facilitate the selling of illegal narcotics. There was evidence that 6 people died from those drugs and he is responsible. True he was not charged but he could be in the near future.

    You said, “Your quote from the Wall Street Journal is merely anecdotal evidence. There is no evidence that the drugs involved in those overdoses came from the Silk Road”.  The Wall Street Journal is a respected periodical. There is evidence these deaths were attributed to Silk Road. 

    You said, “To be clear, Ross was convicted of seven charges: distributing or aiding and abetting the distribution of narcotics, distributing narcotics or aiding and abetting distribution over the internet, conspiracy to violate narcotics laws, conspiracy to run a continuing criminal enterprise, and conspiracy charges for computer hacking, distributing false identifications, and money laundering”. All which are felonies. That is why he will be in prison a very very long time.

    You said, “None of those charges included five counts of first degree murder (which murder for hire is recognized as). Since no evidence of murder contracts was ever presented during the trial, it’s more than likely this claim was a ploy used by the FBI to convince the judge to deny Ross bail. You are correct. He was not charged. But it doesn’t mean they stopped the investigation. He could be charged in the future. Please post a link that backs up your statement “it’s more than likely this claim was a ploy used by the FBI to convince the judge to deny Ross bail”. It’s the DA who decides and argues what the bail should be. The judge is the final decision and it has nothing to do with the FBI. He was accused of a number of felonies and had the ability to flee the USA.

    You said, “Ross’s criminal charges were comprised entirely of statutory offenses”. All were all crimes of disobedience. No, they were major felonies. I have the jury’s decision to back that up.

    You said, “Unfortunately for lovers of freedom, statutory offenses such as prohibition laws are very profitable for the government agents that prosecute them” Please post a link that backs your statement up?. Remember, Ulbricht was found guilty of major felonies. 

     You said, “Since consumers still demand these outlawed items, the only sources for them are black markets. Because trade in contraband incurs risk, black markets have very high profit margins. And it’s the confiscation of those profits that encourages government agents to enforce prohibition laws with such zeal”. Black Markets are illegal. Ulbricht was found guilty of moderating narcotic trafficking, money laundering, ect.. Major offenses.

    You said, “No. Ross is in prison because he provided a venue for black market services. He ran a business outside official government approval. Because it was a black market operation, Ross also couldn’t surrender the subsequent tribute (taxes) expected from all business owners”.  Yes, he was convicted of facilitating illegal drug deals, money laundering ect… No where in the trial was taxes brought up. 

    As far as the rest of your statements, Here is a very detailed link that explains the trial of Ulbricht. It’s very long but interesting.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/05/sunk-how-ross-ulbricht-ended-up-in-prison-for-life/

  15. Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS

    Your obedience is commendable.  You will get an extra biscuit.   Good doggy.

  16. When are doctors and pharmacists going to get life for creating oxycodone addicts?

  17. Marijuana is legal in colorado. Try again

  18. Johnmccolly It’s decriminalized in Colorado. It’s still illegal in all 50 states on the federal level.

  19. Johnmccolly Comparing Dr’s and pharmacists to those who sell drugs illegally is not a good example. Dr’s are nailed when they prescribe narcotics beyond protocols. Pharmacists cannot give out prescription drugs without a Dr’s prescription. Pharmacists can question a Dr’s who is giving out to many narcotics or narcotics that are on a schedule II tier.

  20. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks And your statement means what? I would tend to believe you don’t have a legit statement.

  21. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks So you believe it’s OK for one person to get life in prison because of what state it was done in? What state did Ross operate out of?

  22. Jumping Jacks Johnmccolly ANY addiction is beyond protocols. Why hold pharmacist to a lower standard? Because of the large amount of education they receive?

  23. Johnmccolly Jumping Jacks I’m not sure what you are trying to ask.

  24. Johnmccolly WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks Yes, he deserves life because he was indited and convicted of major felonies. Ulbricht was operating out of San Francisco CA

  25. Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS

    My apologies…I should have been more concise.  You seem to be a sycophant and unable to accept that the default position should be all people own their own bodies.  

    What other peaceful people do is not my business, your business or the business of the state. 

    Also, you never answered… who owns your body ?

  26. WEEDA CLAUS  He did commit a crime, weedadouche, and was sentenced to life in prison for it.  Now be a good little know-nothing freetard and stop whining.  There’s room for plenty more if you’re interested.

  27. FTL_Ian Dread Pirate Roberts Um, how you and your freetard douche squad are “vindicated”.   Always about you, you narcissistic douche.

  28. WEEDA CLAUS  STFU, weedadouche.  He broke the law and was sentenced accordingly.   He also conspired to have people killed.  I know a fucking moron such as yourself doesn’t quite get all that, but no matter: Ulbricht is in prison for life.  One down, many more to go.  Plenty of room for more freetards.

  29. Johnmccolly Not legal in NH, douchebag.  Try and keep up.

  30. Johnmccolly WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks He was convicted of Federal crimes, douchebag.  Again … try and keep up.

  31. Drac Vermell Actually, he’s in prison for violating multiple federal laws.  I know for someone as simple-minded as yourself that’s a bit much to take in, but try anyway.

    You freetards really make me laugh.  Bitch and moan about our “unjust government”, and yet you cannot do anything to change it – not one damn thing.  And you know why?  Because no one wants to side with a bunch of juvenile morons who were toliet-trained much too early in life and have problems with authority.

  32. Dread Pirate Roberts Johnmccolly WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks

    What is a crime?  Can you explain how some things are determined to be crimes that are not harmful to another person and some things which are, are determined not to be crimes?

    Also, if you are going to rudely reply to multiple people, shouldn’t you have said “douchebags” ,rather than douchebag?

  33. Dread Pirate Roberts FTL_Ian Uh, I wasn’t in NYC.  Try again.

  34. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks You said, “What other peaceful people do is not my business, your business or the business of the state”.  Sorry, should those “peaceful people” start breaking the law, it is everyone’s business. 

    You said, “You seem to be a sycophant and unable to accept that the default position should be all people own their own bodies”.   That is a statement that really means nothing because you have no proof.

    You said, “Also, you never answered… who owns your body” ?   God does.

  35. Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS

    God does? 

    Well then don’t be an apologist for people that piss her / him off…
    Genesis 1:29King James Version (KJV)
    29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

  36. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks
    And God made cannabis so that his children may smoketh it.

  37. Drac Vermell WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks Funny 🙂

  38. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks You said, “Well then don’t be an apologist for people that piss her / him off…” I have no idea what you are saying.

    I don’t follow the King James Bible.

  39. Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS

    Oh well then move to Somalia. (sorry I’ve been dying to use that one!)

  40. WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks Why should I move to Somalia? Is it because I don’t agree with you? Is it the fact that I have my own educated opinions?

  41. Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS ?You said, “Also, you never answered… who owns your body” ?   God does.?

    With all due respect, that analogy only applies to those who believe in God. Don’t assume everyone does just because you do. Just like you stated to him when he made an assumption of you being, what he seems, to be a sycophant & unable to accept the default…Well, your statement really means nothing because you have no proof. (Only your own personal belief)

  42. Drac Vermell WEEDA CLAUS Jumping Jacks LOL!

  43. tammyjj Jumping Jacks WEEDA CLAUS You said, “With all due respect, that analogy only applies to those who believe in God”.  I believe in God. The question was directed at me and that was my answer.

    If you don’t believe in God then that is you business. Again, I was asked the question not you and I gave the answer I believe in.

    It would seem the rest of your statements mean absolutely nothing. Just your personal beliefs.

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