The defense team of Ross Ulbricht plans on bringing Andreas Antonopoulos, a leading expert on Bitcoin’s technology, to “provide expert opinion testimony” on Bitcoin.
In a brief 1.5-page letter addressed to Assistant United States Attorneys Serrin Turner and Timothy T. Howard, Joshua Dratel & Co. advise that Antonopoulos will discuss topics such as: Bitcoin’s origins, its purposes, the mechanics of transactions, transaction tracking, its value, speculation and mining, “the ability to tie Bitcoins from Silk Road to Mr. Ulbricht” and the dollar value of Ulbricht’s bitcoins over time.
Attached to the letter is Antonopoulos’ 3-page Curriculum Vitae, which expands upon his IT expertise and experience.
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Aside from the second last point mentioned above, the letter did not explain what such testimony aims to accomplish. In theory, it would be something along the lines of demonstrating that the connection between Ulbricht and the discovered bitcoins is not so clear-cut. That may be a tough argument considering agents took photos of Ulbricht’s screen purportedly showing his exclusive access to the bitcoins.
Understandably, prosecutors have objected to such testimony, arguing that it is irrelevant. They wrote in a 7-page letter that Antonopoulos’ testimony “should be precluded in its entirety.”
The defense has mentioned in the past that some of the bitcoins may have been obtained through trading, hence the possible relevance of expert testimony on the matter. The prosecution argued, however, that factual evidence is needed to support this claim, and expert testimony about how such things work is insufficient.