The government and defense presented their closing arguments during yesterday’s session in the Silk Road trial. The defense has had shockingly little to say following the government’s exhibiting of reams of apparent evidence linking Ross Ulbricht to “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR).
The defense acknowledged Ulbricht as the site’s creator on Day 1 of the trial. The point of contention has been the extent of his involvement since then. Ulbricht’s attorney, Joshua Dratel, said that his client created the site as an open marketplace like Amazon. After handing it off to others, he was lured back by the true DPR. He argued that the real DPR wouldn’t keep such self-incriminating evidence on his own computer:
“Keeping a journal like that and saving it on your laptop? A little too convenient. Does that sound like [Dread Pirate Roberts]?”
He even went as far as to suggest that the true DPR, whoever he is, hacked Ulbricht’s computer and planted the incriminating evidence.
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Prosecutor Serrin Turner said that the “Dread Pirate Roberts” character was passed on to others in the 1987 movie “The Princess Bride,” but the same cannot be said for its Silk Road counterpart:
“The defendant is trying to dust off the old ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ flag and fly it one more time – before you, ladies and gentlemen.”
In an interview with CNN Money, Ulbricht’s parents Kirk and Lyn maintained their son’s innocence, saying he in no way resembles DPR. They also decried what they considered as the government’s stifling of earlier suspicions linking former MtGox CEO Mark Karpeles to Silk Road.
Also rehashed on the final day was the testimony of one of Ulbricht’s college friends, who said the defendant told him he was building a marketplace for drugs but later sold the site.
One can’t help but wonder, if Ulbricht did indeed hand off the site to others, why did the defense not present a single article of evidence to this effect? Even if the government, theoretically, destroyed such evidence from Ulbricht’s computer–now outside the control of Ulbricht and his defense team–it would seem outlandish that no trace of the transfer exists anywhere else.