Trial: Evidence and Information Hidden from Jury

The prosecution deprived Ross’s jury of essential facts and information. This was in violation of Ross’s Due Process rights, and of the Brady Rule, an established law that says evidence favorable to a defendant is not allowed to be hidden.[1][2]

[All the evidence] “was permeated by corruption of two law enforcement agents participating in the investigation, the restrictions on cross-examination, and preclusion of expert witnesses offered to overcome those restrictions, eviscerated Ulbricht’s defense and denied him a fair trial.”
Excerpt from Ross’s appeal.[3]

Controlled Narrative

To serve its controlled narrative, in addition to using uncharged, false allegations of murder-for-hire, the prosecution kept out evidence that casts doubt on Ross being the only one operating Silk Road from start to finish.

For example, the defense moved to admit a statement made to prosecutors by Andrew Jones, a former Silk Road administrator known as “Inigo.” The statement supported the defense that over time there had been multiple people acting as DPR, the top administrator. The prosecutors fought having even this simple statement presented to Ross’s jury, and the judge agreed.[4]

In addition, Ross’s jury was not to know about:

  • The legal and harmless items sold on Silk Road, like gold, books, art, clothing and electronics.[5]
  • Ross’s peaceful libertarian views.[6]
  • Ross’s loving, supporting family. In the courtroom, Ross was forbidden to smile at his family while the jury was present.[7]
  • Lead FBI investigator Christopher Tarbell’s testimony.[8] Tarbell allegedly located the Silk Road server (his explanation was widely debunked by experts[9][10]), he signed Ross’s criminal complaint, and led the arrest team. Despite all this, he was barely mentioned at trial and the prosecution did not call him to the stand, preventing the defense from cross-examining him about the server and his investigation.

The Corrupt Federal Agents

Corruption permeated Ross’s trial, yet the judge prohibited its mention to the jury.

The prosecution:

  • Kept hidden all information about the corrupt federal agents from the defense for nearly nine months, only revealing to Ross’s attorneys the existence of one corrupt federal agent (Carl Mark Force) just before Ross’s trial.[11]
  • Insisted the corruption stay sealed, arguing that revealing it to Ross’s jury would tip off the agents and impede the investigation.[12] Yet, the agents had known for months that they were under investigation and had been interviewed by law enforcement.[13]
  • Prevented the defense from independently investigating the corruption, including subpoenaing DEA Agent Force to testify at trial.
  • Refused to respond to numerous discovery requests from the defense.[14]
  • Did not reveal until after Ross’s trial the existence of Shaun Bridges, corrupt NSA agent and computer forensics expert in the Silk Road investigation.[15]
  • Refused the defense request to postpone trial until after the corruption investigation so the jury could know all the facts.[16]
  • Repeatedly used the corruption secret as an excuse to preclude valuable defense evidence.

In 2015, months after Ross’s trial ended, the two federal corrupt agents were eventually sentenced to prison for the crimes they admitted to committing during the Silk Road investigation. Both were released from prison in 2020 and 2021.
Read more about The Corruption.