Evidence and Information Hidden from Jury
The prosecution deprived the 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.
[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.”
– Joshua Dratel arguing for a new trial.
To serve its controlled narrative, in addition to using uncharged, false allegations of planning violence, the prosecution kept out evidence that casts doubt on Ross being the 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 theory that there had been multiple people acting as DPR, the top administrator. The prosecutors fought having even this simple statement presented to the jury, and the judge agreed.
- The many legal and harmless items sold on Silk Road, like gold, books, art, clothing and electronics.
- Ross’s peaceful, libertarian views.
- Ross’s loving, supporting family. In the courtroom, Ross was forbidden to smile at his family while the jury was present.
- Lead FBI investigator Christopher Tarbell’s testimony. Tarbell allegedly located the Silk Road server (his explanation was widely debunked by experts), 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 agents
- Kept hidden all information about the corrupt agents from the defense for nearly nine months, revealing only one agent right before trial.
- Insisted the corruption stay sealed, arguing that revealing it to the jury would tip off the agents and impede the investigation. Yet, the agents had known for months that they were under investigation and had been interviewed by law enforcement.
- 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.
- Did not disclose until after the trial the existence of Shaun Bridges, corrupt NSA agent and computer forensics expert on the Maryland investigation.
- Refused the defense request to postpone trial until after the corruption investigation so the jury could know all the facts.
- Repeatedly used the corruption secret as an excuse to preclude valuable defense evidence.
- Repeatedly stymied defense efforts to introduce favorable evidence during trial.
Read more about The Corruption.
- ▲ – Due Process, Cornell.edu
- ▲ – Brady Rule, Cornell.edu
- ▲ – Ross’s appeal brief (page 6)
- ▲ – Ross’s appeal brief (page 90)
- ▲ – Screenshot of legal categories listed on Silk Road as of October 1, 2013 (from government exhibit 132)
- ▲ – DailyDot article, December 16, 2014 (“Silk Road prosecutors want to ban Ross Ulbricht’s libertarian politics in court”)
- ▲ – Trial transcript, day 6 (page 1015)
- ▲ – Declaration of Christopher Tarbell
- ▲ – IB Times article, September 8, 2014 (“FBI Lied About How it Obtained Silk Road Server Location Says Security Expert”)
- ▲ – Robert Graham’s post, Oct 3,2014 (“Reading the Silk Road configuration”)
- ▲ – Appeal brief (page 23)
- ▲ – Pre-trial transcript, Dec 15, 2014 (page 26)
- ▲ – Letter from AUSA to the judge, March 31, 2015 (Appeal appendix page A650)
- ▲ – Appeal brief (page 26)
- ▲ – Appeal brief (page 18)
- ▲ – Letter from AUSA to the judge, December 31, 2014 (Appeal appendix page A706)