An essential piece of evidence, proving tampering in Ross Ulbricht’s case, was discovered a few months ago, buried deep within the 6 terabytes the government produced in the discovery and presented to the jury at trial.
Four images of the Silk Road forum database were made for use in the trial evidence against Ross. It is now known these versions were tampered with, wiped of communications between Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR) and someone using the handle “notwonderful,” who appears to be a government employee selling DPR information about the federal investigation into Silk Road.
This was revealed by the discovery of a fifth back up of the forum database in an obscure file, labelled “S,” that includes conversations between DPR and “notwonderful” that were deleted from the other images.
In addition, conversations from a critical time period — the six weeks before Ulbricht’s arrest — are missing. Although payments for information from DPR to “notwonderful” continued after August 15, 2013, there is no record of any communications after that. However, it is known from the record that DPR continued to pay notwonderful after Aug. 15, so although there was contact, and payments for information, and presumably information given, all communication after August 15 is mysteriously missing.
During those same six weeks DHS Maryland, where corrupt agents Force and Bridges (now in prison) were operating, seized 2.9 million from Mark Karpeles, who was being investigated as being DPR. DHS agent Jared Der’Yeghian testified that for two years he had built a substantial case implicating Karpeles. On two occasions in 2013 he documented in sworn affidavits that he had probable cause to suspect that Karpeles was running Silk Road as DPR and he sought a warrant for Karpeles’ email account.
In addition, during those same six weeks, Der’Yeghian testified that Karpeles’ lawyers met with DHS Maryland and offered a deal that Karpeles would turn over DPR’s name in exchange for ending the government’s pursuit of Karpeles. Two weeks later Ross was arrested and the Karpeles case was dropped. This information was stricken from the trial record by Judge Katherine Forrest and the jury was instructed to disregard it.
The six weeks before Ross’ arrest are critical, as the defense claimed at trial that DPR conceived and executed an exit strategy to frame Ross a few weeks prior to the site being shut down. In any case, this recent revelation of evidence tampering definitively establishes that the digital evidence in Ross’ case lacks integrity.