The so-called “Silk Road” mastermind, Ross Ulbricht, is innocent of the charges laid by the Feds, according to his lawyer. he is not the “Dread Pirate Roberts” who ran the black market website which, according to this report in the Wall Street Journal is picking itself up again, dusting itself off and continuing the good, online fight for black marketeering.
Ulbricht’s lawyer, Joshua Dratel, says his client is innocent of the charges that include drugs trafficking, computer hacking and other currently ‘hot’ offences.
The WSJ reports:
Mr. Ulbricht, 29 years old, was arrested in San Francisco more than a month ago, before being moved to New York Tuesday evening. He is charged in criminal complaints filed in federal courts in Manhattan and Maryland. Mr. Ulbricht didn’t enter a plea during Wednesday’s hearing, which dealt largely with scheduling and logistical issues.
The case could challenge prosecutors who have to deal with technologies not yet fully addressed by the law. Silk Road allegedly dealt entirely in bitcoin, an Internet currency that allows buyers to remain secret. Mr. Dratel has said the government will have to prove that bitcoins it seized from a Silk Road account were controlled by his client.
Mr. Ulbricht entered the courtroom wearing a blue prison shirt on top of a brown undershirt. His wavy brown hair was well-kept, and he appeared alert. Mr. Dratel said his client recognized the “seriousness” of his situation but was in good spirits under the circumstances. Mr. Dratel described Mr. Ulbricht as an educated young man, who has a clean record and is a “loyal friend.”
Federal agents swooped in and arrested Mr. Ulbricht in October when he opened his laptop at a San Francisco public library. According to the government’s complaint, Mr. Ulbricht managed “Silk Road,” an online market where users could buy everything from narcotics to forged passports since 2011. Online, the complaint says, he was known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a reference to the 1980s romantic comedy “The Princess Bride.”
Mr. Ulbricht’s court appearance came on the same day that a group tried to relaunch a version of the Silk Road. An administrator even claimed the Dread Pirate Roberts username.