Living in the aftermath of the bail decision is painful. It was a devastating blow emotionally. Sometimes Kirk and I feel so overwhelmed and helpless, we just break down. But we know we need to stay strong for Ross, and not give up. We wonder why convicted murderers, rapists, child pornographers and multiple offenders are routinely granted bail, while Ross – with a totally clean record and no history of violence – is denied. At this point he has been convicted of nothing. Nothing is proven.
To make it worse, Ross has been deprived of the basic right of prison system emails and access to the law library. This is not only cruel to him and his loved ones, but impedes his attorneys and his ability to defend himself. Prisoners who have actually been convicted have these rights.
Weeks of intense, hard work, blended with emotional torment, led up to the hearing. We labored long hours to present the court with a very substantial bail package, including 70 letters strongly attesting to Ross’ character. As regards Ross as a flight risk, if ruining his friends and family is not enough deterrent, the government can attach an electronic tracking device to him, making flight virtually impossible. It is also routine to block Internet use by people on bail if that’s an element of the charges, so that concern can also be addressed. We had hope.
We raised over a million dollars in bail commitments and pledges from friends and family. These were not a couple of wealthy people writing a check. It represents the savings, homes and property of regular people, many with few assets. They did not take this risk merely because they love Ross. They did it because they trust him. And they trust him because he has demonstrated over and over again that he is a reliable man of integrity.
Some of the typical comments regarding bail were:
“I have pledged all my savings because I know and trust Ross. I cannot emphasize enough that trustworthiness and reliability are at the core of who Ross is.”
“I am putting up my life’s savings towards the bail effort. I would be ruined if I were to lose this money. But I know Ross and I have total faith in him and his promise not to flee.”
“We are putting up our house toward Ross’ bail. I would never consider jeopardizing the roof over our heads if I didn’t think he was completely trustworthy.”
These letters came from different countries, from all age groups, from friends, family and people who have known Ross throughout his life. “Individuals from all aspects and time periods of Mr.Ulbricht’s life affirm that his reliability and integrity have been constants throughout his life,” Ross’s lawyer, Joshua Dratel said in the letter to the court.
Yet we were stunned to hear the prosecution dismiss these people by declaring that every one of us don’t know Ross! We, who have known him well all his life, wondered how Mr. Turner could possibly presume this and actually state it in court. As one family member later wrote: “I was shocked in disbelief, listening to the federal prosecutor’s extensive recitation of unproven allegations.”
The hearing itself was a huge disappointment. We were stunned that the prosecution repeatedly ignored Judge Fox’s clear instructions to only address what was lacking in his submitted letter. Even after the judge objected to this behavior several times, the prosecutor ignored him and continued talking. For us it was a weird disconnect to see him point dramatically at Ross, sitting there quietly, while he claimed what a danger Ross is to others and how he should be denied bail.
We found it interesting timing that four new murder-for-hire accusations were revealed only that day. Ross’ attorney received this information only the evening before, making it impossible for him to discuss it with Ross and challenge it at the hearing. Of course, as with the first two, there are no bodies connected to these new allegations, and we are certain there never will be.
In contrast to the prosecution, Ross’ attorney followed the rules by only presenting information not contained in the already submitted bail package. He said that people charged with serious offenses have been granted bail for decades. He pointed out that if Ross didn’t flee in the past, he would not flee now, when it would devastate his family. “If he’s supposed to be this criminal mastermind that they’re alleging, he would have run after DHS agents interviewed him at his home in July,” Dratel said.
But unlike most other accused citizens, Ross was denied bail.
We left the hearing in shock, heartbroken and, frankly, with diminished faith in the justice system. We believe it was an unfair decision. As we exited, shaken, we were surrounded by journalists. They were courteous, sensitive to our state of mind and compassionate. We really appreciated that. And we’re ready to continue the fight to vindicate Ross.
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