Timeline of the Silk Road Case
“The Most Important Trial in America: If you care about due process, Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches, the limits of government surveillance, and Internet freedom, you should pay attention.” – Nick Gillespie, Editor-in-Chief, Reason.com
Silk Road is launched.
March 1, 2011
User “silkroad” advertises Silk Road on bitcointalk.org.
Chicago Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan starts investigating Silk Road.
June 5, 2011
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, calls for “crackdown” on Silk Road and use of Bitcoin.
Ross tells Richard Bates he handed Silk Road off to a successor.
February 6, 2012
Silk Road admin announces his name as Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR).
Der-Yeghiayan tells Baltimore HSI agent Michael McFarland not to contact Karpeles or tell anyone he’s a target.
Der-Yeghiayan discovers McFarland informed the Baltimore task force, including known corrupt federal agents Carl Mark Force and Shaun Bridges, about Karpeles, and they’ve been “actively working” him and keeping him under surveillance.
January 17, 2013
Force and Secret Service / NSA agent Shaun Bridges arrest Curtis Green, a senior Silk Road admin.
National Security Agency (NSA) works “urgently” to “track down” bitcoin users, according to classified documents provided by Edward Snowden.
FBI special agent Christopher Tarbell “gets” Silk Road server IP address.
DPR reveals he inherited Silk Road from its original creator.
August 15, 2013 to [unknown]
Someone with access to the evidence gathered by the government destroys several copies of conversation between “notwonderful” and DPR.
August 15, 2013
Der-Yeghiayan swears under oath that Karpeles is DPR and submits a sealed search warrant for his email accounts.
Ross arrives in Southern District of New York to face charges.
November 18, 2013
DPR logs into his Silk Road forum account for the last time, over six weeks after Ross was arrested.
November 20, 2013
Ross released from solitary confinement into general prison population.
November 21, 2013
Ross denied bail.
November 22, 2013
Silk Road forum taken down.
Joshua Dratel, Ross’s attorney, challenges the indictment as unconstitutional and unfair.
July 9, 2014
District Court Judge Katherine Forrest denies challenge to indictment.
August 1, 2014
Dratel calls for evidentiary hearing to investigate how FBI Agent Christopher Tarbell found Silk Road server.
Ross finally given complete access to discovery totaling approximately four terabytes (equivalent to 2.5 billion typed, single-spaced pages).
- Bharara files memo opposing pre-trial motions that suggest the NSA was involved in the Silk Road investigation, accusing the defense of conjuring up a “bogeyman – the NSA.”
- Tarbell testifies under oathhow he found the Silk Road server to worldwide expert skepticism.
“Many of us believe it wasn’t the FBI who discovered the hidden Silk Road server, but the NSA (or other intelligence organization). We believe the FBI is using “parallel construction,” meaning creating a plausible story of how they found the server to satisfy the courts, but a story that isn’t true” – Robert Graham, well-known cybersecurity expert
- Judge Forrest denies evidentiary hearing.
- Judge Forrest dismisses Ross’s motions to suppress evidence.
October 27, 2014
New York Senator Schumer publicly congratulates the Department of Justice for arresting the “Silk Road operator” before the New York trial had even begun.
October – December 2014
Court-ordered access to laptop and discovery evidence is repeatedly blocked by prison.
December 12, 2014
Defense is deprived of the witness list.
- Investigation into Force sealed. Judge Forrest precludes evidence of corrupt agent activity from trial.
- Judge Forrest denies defense request that trial be postponed so jury can be informed of the corruption.
January 1, 2015
More than 5,000 pages of relevant material about Der-Yeghiayan’s investigation dumped on Ross and his defense less than two weeks before trial.
Ross moved to Metropolitan Correctional Center, Manhattan, New York.
Ross is found guilty on all counts.
“This ruling is bad news for future entrepreneurs seeking to build online marketplaces. At any moment … the U.S. government could tell a story that the online marketplace is part of a giant conspiracy by helping illegal transactions; and on that theory, seize the business…and threaten the founders with the prospect of years or decades in jail.” – Eric Goldman, Forbes
Corruption of Silk Road investigation revealed.
“The complete scope of what former SA’s Force and Bridges were able to accomplish with the illicit access they gained to the Silk Road website, and its impact on this case, has yet to be determined.” – Joshua Dratel, lead trial attorney
Judge Forrest denies motion for new trial.
May 26, 2015
Ross writes sentencing letter addressed to Judge Forrest pleading to leave him his old age.
“Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit.” – Ross in sentencing letter to Judge Forrest
“Ulbricht’s life sentence won’t deter others from giving Americans access to the drugs they want. It won’t “protect” society. It won’t “serve justice” … It will just waste another life.” – Henry Blodget, CEO/Editor-in-Chief, Business Insider
Double life plus 40 years, without the possibility of parole, on five non-violent charges.
Government issues a grand jury subpoena/gag order to Reason.com to turn over identities of people who commented on Ross’s sentence.
“If only 10% of what Lyn said about the trial and the events leading up to the trial are true,there should be a reversal. As a former prosecutor, I am appalled at what the federal government has done to Ross.” – Former prosecutor, after seeing Porcfest speech
“That my son — or anyone — would receive a life sentence based on such vulnerable evidence, especially when there is proof of corruption and tampering, is a travesty of justice.” – Lyn Ulbricht
Log-in by Dread Pirate Roberts after Ross arrested announced.
May 29, 2017
July 14, 2017
Ross moved to USP Florence, CO, a maximum security penitentiary.
July 31, 2017
Petition to Second Circuit to re-hear appeal filed.
- First Amendment violations at sentencing
- Unconstitutional warrants
- Warrantless surveillance
August 29, 2017
Petition to re-hear denied by Second Circuit without comment.
December 22, 2017
Defense led by Kannon Shanmugam files petition for Writ of Certiorari asking Supreme Court to review the decision of the lower courts.
February 5, 2018
Petition for writ joined by the following amici (21 organizations):
- Downsize DC Foundation — Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund — Gun Owners Foundation — Gun Owners of America — Restoring Liberty Action Committee
- Brief here
- National Lawyers Guild — American Conservative Union Foundation Center for Criminal Justice Reform — FreedomWorks — Human Rights Defense Center — Judge Nancy Gertner — National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms — Partnership for Civil Justice Fund — People’s Law Office
- Brief here
- Reason Foundation — Cato Institute — Competitive Enterprise Institute — R Street Institute
- Brief here
February 5, 2018
- Judge Forrest denies unopposed motion to extend deadline to submit newly-discovered evidence.
- Judge Forrest denies motion for her to recuse herself.
March 7, 2018
Defense Attorney Paul Grant files petition for Writ Of Mandamus to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
March 20, 2018
Defense led by Kannon Shanmugam files reply to government in support of Supreme Court cert petition.