Robert Hur, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland dropped the 2013 three-count murder-for-hire accusation charge against the defunct Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. He was arraigned in court as the principal administrator of Silk Road under the moniker Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR) and a Manhattan jury found him guilty on seven charges, including conspiracy to drug distribution, money laundering, and many cyber crimes. He is currently serving a double life imprisonment with no possibility of parole. He sits in a Colorado federal prison.
According to the report, “the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York handled the case regarding Ulbricht’s double-life sentence which has been decreed by the Second Circuit United States Court of Appeal. However, the United States High Court has repudiated the case. We hereby drop the federal indictments considering a similar action pending against Ross Ulbricht in Maryland, which enables us to channel our resources to different issues where justice is meant to be served.”
This means that no additional time can be added to Ulbricht’s current sentence, and instead, he can focus his efforts on a gubernatorial clemency or presidential pardon. Moreover, it demonstrates the love and support Ross is receiving. The United States Attorney’s Office received countless phone calls and emails and pressure likely led to Robert Hur dropped the 2013 charges.
Representing the Attorney General of Maryland, publicist Marcia Murphy did not admit innocence or even culpability upon Ross Ulbricht. “I would say nothing regarding that for now,” she said. When also asked if this was simply administrivia or was it a legitimate scheduled dropped, her response was not yes or no. “You are right,” she told the reporter. And that ended the conversation.
In the two last weeks, Ross Ulbricht has resurfaced in the public eye. Under the handle @RealRossU, he is making public tweets from prison. He has admitted that all tweets are being transcribed from phone calls he is making, but every word is exact.
The murder-for-hire charge was finally dropped today. What a relief! It really hurt to have that hanging over me all these years, to be accused of being something I’m not. I just hope I won’t be seen in that light anymore. https://t.co/2Dd0Jt1xMq
— Ross Ulbricht (@RealRossU) July 28, 2018
Additionally, it is assumed that his handle will strengthen his voice in an effort to get clemency or a presidential pardon. With each tweet, there is a sense of excitement in his voice and hope, something he may not have had two or even three years ago. While his family manages his handle, there are additional efforts on their plate. With every public opportunity, his mother goes public seeking support in an effort to dispell any notion that he is a cybercriminal worthy of two lifetimes in prison.
The double life sentence has been up for appeal twice now, but both were sustained. Even with the United States Supreme Court denial to hear an appeal motion, has not fully crumbled Ross’ hope. A new petition on change.org has gained serious momentum. He has over 45,000 signatures and once they hit 50,000, he will continue to spread the word of his unjust sentence.
The United States Libertarian Party passed a resolution recently asking President Donald J. Trump to grant a full pardon of Ross Ulbricht at its annual convention this month. Darryl Perry, chair of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire said, if the present United States president were to refuse a pardon of Ulbricht, the country would then have to elect a Libertarian Party represented U.S. President in 2020 to get Ulbricht exonerated.
While this is all talk, let’s be serious about the matter at hand. Political organizations that are well established in the United States are fighting for Ross’ freedom. This is unprecedented with anyone found guilty of working or driving a darknet marketplace. It may not be this year or next, but Ross Ulbricht is in a serious position to have a presidential pardon, or in the very least, a re-examination of his case by a future Supreme Court when the timing is better.