Ross Ulbricht's Lawyers Think There's More Evidence of Law Enforcement Misconduct in the Silk Road Prosecution

Ulbricht's team now know of wiped correspondence with what seems to be another corrupt investigator, casting further doubt on the integrity of the digital evidence trail against the convicted Silk Road founder.


Joshua Dratel, lawyer for convicted Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, today sent a discovery demand to the attorney general's office in Maryland, where a dormant but not fully dead separate prosecution of Ulbricht exists.


As explained in a press conference today in New York (which I listened to over the phone), Dratel and his team have learned, after Ulbricht's conviction and life sentence for various crimes associated with founding and operating the darkweb sales site Silk Road, that another federal agent involved in the investigation against the site's pseudonymous operator "Dread Pirate Roberts" (who the feds insist was, and always was, Ulbricht) was committing crimes of his own, including getting "DPR" to pay him for ongoing inside information from the investigation against him.

Dratel and his team want to know what the government knows about this mystery man known as "notwonderful" and "albertpacino" on Silk Road's forum and sales servers. As Dratel said in today's press conference, the prosecution has an ongoing legal obligation to share exculpatory evidence as the appeals process continues.

Some documentary evidence on the payoffs from "DPR" to "albertpacino," which indicated the government at one time thought "albertpacino" might be an alias for already-known corrupt investigator Carl Force of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dratel says he is confident "albertpacino/notwonderful" is neither Force nor the other known corrupt investigator, Shaun Bridge of the Secret Service.

Two things leap out from what Dratel does now know, as he sees it: one, that the version of the Silk Road forum server imaged and used as evidence in the prosecution had the record of DPR's correspondence with this mystery agent "albertpacino/notwonderful" wiped.

This, Dratel says, casts severe doubt on the integrity of the digital trail of evidence against Ulbricht.

Second, while Dratel and his team have most of that wiped correspondence now at their disposal, what they have stops on August 15, 2013, about six weeks before Ulbricht was arrested.

The missing weeks may well indicate that a theory Dratel wants the court to consider more seriously might be true: that the "DPR" who "notwonderful" was telling tales to and being paid off by may have had time to disappear and frame Ulbricht in those last weeks.

A written statement from Lindsay Lewis in Dratel's office sums up what they think is important about this to Ulbricht's ongoing appeal:

The deletion of the Silk Road forum database communications between DPR and "notwonderful," who also operated on Silk Road under the name "albertpacino," and evidence that "notwonderful" sold DPR information about the federal law enforcement investigation of SR and DPR and was paid regularly for updates regarding the progress of the investigation, is significant because it confirms further tampering with the Silk Road investigation and the evidence in Ross Ulbricht's case, that is distinct from SA Force and SA Bridges' corruption.

This revelation definitively establishes that the digital evidence in Ross's case lacks integrity. In addition, since even the backup copy of the Silk Road forum database that was manually created by a Silk Road user with administrative privileges named "s," is incomplete in that it preserves communications through August 15, 2013, the date that copy was created, we still do not know what else DPR learned about the Silk Road investigation from "notwonderful" and the contents of their communications in those crucial six week between August 15, 2013, and October 1, 2013, when Ross Ulbricht was arrested. The defense at trial was that DPR conceived and executed an exit strategy to frame Ross Ulbricht and those six weeks are therefore critical.

Dratel explained in today's press conference that their request letter may lead to an eventual motion to compel discovery on these matters, and could conceivably lead to an eventual new trial motion.

See the latest, from October, on Ulbricht's ongoing appeal process.

Background on the criminality of Silk Road investigators Carl Force of the DEA and Shaun Bridges of the Secret Service.

There is a webathon raising money for Ulbricht's defense happening this Sunday, more details at

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  1. /turns wood chipper on.

    1. “Hello, I’d like two large bags of mulch please.”

      “Do you want the Social Justice Judge blend, or the Sanctimonious Prosecutor blend?”

      “I’m mulching around my liberty tree, what do you recommend?”

      “One of each.”

      1. Tut-tut, no one cares about these little quibbles and no one should. The prosecution of America’s leading criminal “satire” case was a special favor for a certain well-connected individual, but that doesn’t deprive it of its legitimacy. A life-sentence would have been merited in that case too. Surely no one here would dare to defend the outrageous “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge? See the documentation at:

      2. That was all juvenile bluster for the record.

    2. Put your clothes back on, Rufus.

  2. Holy hell, this investigation and prosecution was a total mess.

  3. There is a webathon raising money for Ulbricht’s defense happening this Sunday, more details at

    Be sure to put yourself on a watchlist today!

  4. Fuck those people, they railroaded this guy because he dared spit in the eye of bid daddy gubmint by engaging in helping people to do what they want to without government permission.

    1. Once you get on Chuck Schumer’s radar…

      1. …the Moobs of Death ..will.. find.. you!

        *scary music cue*

  5. Any chance at all this guy gets parole?

    I will keep it civil where that thing that calls itself a judge is concerned.

    1. President Free Society would pardon him day one. But alas… I err on the side of injustice when it comes to predicting judicial proceedings.

    2. There’s no option for parole in the Federal prison system.

      1. I know but as his lawyers keep digging at this, is there any hope somewhere down the line a judge will at least downgrade it if proven correct?

        1. Best case scenario as I see it, he gets a retrial, gets re-convicted and then gets re-sentenced to a less draconian prison term. This is US federal court system, people don’t get to simply walk away. If you win, they retry you as though double jeopardy isn’t unconstitutional. If you plea out, you go to federal prison but just for less time than if you actually try to defend your rights.

  6. I don’t know this story too well, was Ulbricht ever proven to be hiring (and getting duped by) hitmen?

    1. /sits Tak Kak on Rufus’s knee.

      See, there was a wood chipper, a couple of Reason commenters and cunt of a judge and Preet….

    2. Too lazy to look it up but…from memory of a Reason video piece, the issue of the hitmen was never part of the trial. However, even people sympathetic to Ulbricht think that he most likely did hire at least one.

  7. If Obama would pardon this guy or at least commute his sentence, I would take back nearly everything bad I have said about him. This whole thing stunk from the beginning. And while I am willing to admit that he is guilty of a crime, though I don’t support the laws he broke, there is no reasonable or moral justification for his sentence.

    1. The judge spelled out the moral case plain as day, John. She said “there was no social justice” in what he did. So there you have it, he subverted “social justice”. Lock him up and throw away the key.

      1. Hmmmmmmm…………..

        And the whole social justice thing subverted and continues to subvert, the whole concept of civil rights.

        But, I don’t see any life sentences being handed down.

    2. I won’t take back anything I said about him. He could just deschedule cannabis right now and commute everyone’s sentence who were arrested for that. He could close Gitmo. He could have scaled back our involvement in the middle east. He could have stopped Hillary from destablizing that entire region. He could have vetoed a law that the majority of people in the country never wanted to begin with. But what did he do? Sat around imagining himself as the greatest thing ever, played some golf. Fuck him, there’s no forgiveness from me.

      1. Once he lost the Senate in 2014, he had no reason to care what people thought. And indeed, time and again he was willing to make the Democratic party suffer huge political consequences for him doing something. How many Democratic Congressional Candidates met their end because of Obamacare and his harebrained amnesty scheme? A ton. So you can’t say politics ever prevented him from doing what he wanted.

        What you can say is that he clearly never gave a fuck about those issues and never intended to do anything about them. That you can say with 100% certainty.

    3. Yeah, Seems like the perfect case for a commutation. The law is the law, fine. But the sentence is just madness.

      1. Truth is fed feet first in the empire of lies.

    1. “Show some balls, you pussy!”

      -Rhywun’s lawyers

    2. You sure?

  8. I was horrified by this terroristic prosecution and cruel and unusual sentence. Reason is doing a good job following up on these sorts of abuses–with results. Kickstart efforts for the deadhead the looters sentenced to some cruel term over a perfectly safe entheogen failed, but shortly after Reason took an interest, Whutzisname over at the Executive Mansion signed his pardon.

  9. Appeal all you want, and try to put blame on the investigators, but the investigators weren’t the ones on the laptop running the site.

  10. It doesn’t take much of an IQ to figure out that ALL drug cops are criminals, that believe in slavery (that they own our bodies) and are unambiguously trampling the constitution.

    (With the illegitimate banning of alcohol they at least went through the motions of amending the Constitution)

    1. We don’t have to amend the Constitution. The drug laws were never codified into it in the first place.

      Say, doesn’t that make them unconstitutional? 😉

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