Silk Road Defense: Investigators broke privacy rights, invalidates evidence

The lawyers for former Silk Road operator Ross William Ulbricht filed a motion with the United States District Court of

The lawyers for former Silk Road operator Ross William Ulbricht filed a motion with the United States District Court of Southern New York this past weekend, charging that the investigation breached the privacy rights of their client.

Evoking the fourth amendment, they argue that the initial steps of the investigation were not warranted by law of a judge. Therefore, any evidence gathered from subsequent steps of the investigation is invalidated. This includes even evidence not obtained directly from the initial breach, but rather from sources gleaned from it and subsequently investigated:

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“Thus, the Fourth Amendment and relevant statutes require suppression of the fruits of the searches and seizures, and any evidence or other information derived therefrom.”

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All evidence obtained is therefore the “fruit of a poisonous tree”. The memo points to how the investigation compares to the “indiscriminate rummaging” that led to the enactment of the Fourth Amendment.

The argument may be a stretch and we should not be surprised if rejected by the court. Other cases where searches weren’t warranted are cited, but it is a major leap to simply throw out all the evidence obtained thereafter.

Additionally, the memo requests disclosure on how the investigation is being conducted. For example, how Silk Road’s servers were located despite the anonymity protections provided by Tor.

The motion also requests the removal of the mention of murder allegations, which are not included in this case, rather in separate murder-for-hire allegations handled in Maryland.

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