Over in the US last night, lawyers in the trial of the alleged owner of darknet site The Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, presented their closing cases to the jury. Ulbricht didn’t take the stand in his own defence, which has been described as “brief”. The jury will begin deliberations today.
Ulbricht’s lawyer, Joshua Dratel, says that while he did indeed create The Silk Road, which became notorious as an eBay-style marketplace for buying and selling drugs and guns over the relatively anonymous TOR network, the character he created – Dread Pirate Roberts – was an alias used by several different people. Dratel went on to suggest that Mark Karpeles the founder of Mount Gox – the Bitcoin exchange which collapsed under recrimination and allegations of criminality – was the real DPR, something Karpeles has denied.
The prosecution’s case is based on chat logs, bookkeeping records, a journal of Silk Road activity and cross-referencing events from Ulbricht’s life – such as being sick – with comments made by DPR. The defence’s response is that the evidence has been manipulated.
According to Ars Technica – whose coverage of the trial has been exceptionally good and you really should read the full day’s activity here – when discussing a back-up of the The Silk Road server found on a thumb drive Dratel asked jurors, “Would Dread Pirate Roberts do that?
Ulbricht faces a variety of charges which will possibly see him sentenced for life in prison if convicted. He’s also facing charges of conspiracy to murder in a separate case in Maryland, based on this chatlog of a conversation with a Hell’s Angels representative apparently offering to assassinate a Silk Road customer for just over R3m.[Via Ars, Image Tkbx]