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.
Mar 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.
November 11, 2011
Ross tells Richard Bates he handed Silk Road off to a successor.
August 3, 2012
Der-Yeghiayan tells Baltimore HSI agent Michael McFarland not to contact Karpeles or tell anyone he’s a target.
Someone from Baltimore office sells inside law enforcement info to DPR as “notwonderful”.
August 13, 2013
DPR reveals he inherited Silk Road from its original creator.
August 15, 2013 to ?
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.
September 27, 2013
Criminal complaint and arrest warrant filed in Southern District of New York.
October 1, 2013
- Ross arrested in San Francisco and put in solitary confinement.
- Silk Road marketplace taken offline.
- District of Maryland issues indictment, including attempted murder charges based on evidence of corrupt DEA agent Force (now in prison).
November 5, 2013
Ross arrives in Southern District of New York to face charges. Prosecution led by U.S. Attorney Preetinder Bharara.
November 15, 2013
Ross released from solitary confinement into general prison population.
November 18, 2013
DPR logs into his Silk Road forum account for the last time, over six weeks after Ross was arrested.
November 21, 2013
Ross denied bail.
November 22, 2013
Silk Road forum taken down.
February 4, 2014
Ross indicted on four counts. Indictment does not include murder-for-hire charges.
July 9, 2014District Court Judge Katherine Forrest denies challenge to indictment.
August 2014Ross finally given complete access to discovery totaling around four terabytes (equivalent to 2.5 billion typed, single-spaced pages).
August 1, 2014Dratel calls for evidentiary hearing to investigate how FBI Agent Christopher Tarbell found Silk Road server.
October 10, 2014
- Judge Forrest denies evidentiary hearing.
- Judge Forrest dismisses Ross’s motions to suppress evidence.
October 27, 2014New York Senator Schumer publicly congratulates the Department of Justice for arresting the “Silk Road operator” before the New York trial.
December 12, 2014Defense is deprived of the witness list.
January 2015 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
May 29, 2015
“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.
Appeal submitted to Second Circuit.
Jan 28, 2016
Bridges arrested again trying to flee the country to avoid jail sentence.
March 15, 2016
Appeal brief joined by six amici:
“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.
December 22, 2017
Petition for writ of certiorari filed 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