Yesterday’s session in the Ross Ulbricht trial certainly made up for the sluggish pace and technical maneuvering from the previous day.
Prosecutors, with Ulbricht’s laptop in hand, took the jury through vivid details of his Silk Road journey, his personal life and his emotions, as the two occasionally collided.
It is simply astonishing how Ulbricht would create and leave such copious amounts of hard, transparent evidence on his personal device–all the eggs in one basket.
Ulbricht apparently archived intimate details of everything going on in journals and logs: how early career endeavors were a flop; that Silk Road was creating a “year of prosperity and power” he had never experienced; the hiring, firing, promotion and demotion of staff; whether cyanide postings should be allowed; and how the site started small–with him personally growing the psychedelic mushrooms and making the first sales.
It was a damning day for Ulbricht and his defense. The evidence clearly showed him as Silk Road’s creator–as immediately acknowledged by the defense on Day 1. The issue at hand is if he is also the infamous “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR). Most of the evidence presented yesterday does not necessarily indicate such, with at least one exception–an April 2012 chat:
myself: hi there
myself: what’s up?
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sSh: may i ask to whom i’m speaking? a formality of course
myself: DPR, and you are?
sSh: this is squid
myself: why do you keep changing identities?
sSh: i’ve figured it out so that this will be my permanent ID.
myself: sounds good. what have you been up to?”
Most ironic of all was his reassurance to a potential hire who was having doubts about joining: “When you look at the chance of getting caught, its incredibly small…put yourself in the shoes of a prosecutor trying to build a case.” The only way authorities can build a case, he explained, is if they get unencrypted information about Silk Road–a virtual impossibility.
Months later, a male and female agent started an argument in the San Francisco library where he was stationed. Agents grabbed the distracted Ulbricht’s laptop, before even arresting him, and gleaned details before the machine would go idle and encrypt incriminating evidence.