Just over a month after Ross Ulbricht was convicted as the Silk Road mastermind, his defense has demanded a new trial.
In a 33-page motion filed with the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, Ulbricht’s attorney Joshua Dratel says that potentially favorable evidence for the case was not submitted in a timely manner. Had the government submitted 5,000 pages of evidence by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan earlier, the defense could have used it to defend their client. Instead, by the time the trial started on January 12, “the defense was saddled with an overwhelming number of new and modified exhibits.”
The motion’s main point reads:
“MR. ULBRICHT SHOULD BE GRANTED A NEW TRIAL BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT FAILED TO PROVIDE EXCULPATORY MATERIAL AND INFORMATION IN A TIMELY MANNER, THEREBY DENYING HIM HIS FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AND A FAIR TRIAL”
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The motion alleges that much of the evidence was submitted only two weeks before trial, and in some instances, “30 months after the information was memorialized by SA Der-Yeghiayan.” Embedded in this evidence were details potentially linking former MtGox CEO Mark Karpeles to Silk Road. Dratel claimed during the trial that Karpeles set up Ulbricht, but Judge Katherine Forrest ordered such arguments stricken from the record.
The motion evokes the “Brady rule,” born out of the “Brady vs. Maryland” landmark case in 1963, which prohibits the suppression of favorable evidence to the defendant by the prosecution.
Among other points, the motion dedicates 11 pages to arguing why the blocking of testimony by Bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopoulos was unfair.
Throughout the latter stages of the trial Dratel called for a mistrial. Following the verdict he stated intentions to appeal. The latest motion appears to build upon his mistrial charges and is not a formal initiation of appeal proceedings.
As of now, sentencing is scheduled for May 15. Ulbricht faces from 20 years up to life in prison.