back to article Alleged Silk Road boss's lawyers want murder-for-hire evidence blocked from trial

Attorneys representing Ross Ulbricht – the alleged mastermind behind the Silk Road online drugs souk – have asked a New York court to bar evidence that Ulbricht sought to have six people killed, claiming it would unfairly prejudice the jury in his upcoming narcotics trafficking trial. Prosecutors have alleged that Ulbricht, …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    On-hold matter?

    Perhaps intelligence agency involvement on a matter involving a U.S. citizen? I suggest they use 'cause terrorist.' Close enough for government work!

  2. DavCrav

    "They're also seeking to suppress evidence that Ulbricht tried to order fake identification documents via Silk Road, which they claim could also unfairly prejudice their client."

    Sure it might prejudice their client, but unfairly? If you try to have a witness bumped off, surely that's an important point in whether you are guilty of the original offence?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I wonder why both cases aren't being tried together? That would seem the more logical way to do things, as both sets of charges are basically linked. Is it because one lot is state and the other federal?

      From my two lots of jury service, I can say that I'd find it very odd to have to rule on one charge, with evidence of another but no idea how to weigh it. If you've got a previous conviction, then you know that this evidence has gone through its own jury trial, so you can rely on it. Admittedly once you've found someone guilty yourself, and they've gone off to prison, you are fully aware that the justice system isn't perfect by any means - and just how uncertain every decision must be. But to be given evidence of a related crime that you can't weigh fully, becuase you're not getting it all seems very odd. And if they are giving you all the evidence, then why aren't you finding on that case too?

  3. Yugguy

    It's ok, the jury will never knowq

    Gee, I hope noone posts this murder allegation on the Internet.

    Ah, sh1t.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: It's ok, the jury will never knowq

      The US don't have sub judice rules anyway. So this is always an issue. The job of a jury is to assess the evidence they're given in court, and only that evidence. And not to look up other stuff about it while they're doing so. You're supposed to bring your common sense to bear, but not specific knowledge relating to the case. Although those two can overlap a bit if you've got a juror with expertise in something that happens to be relevant (which can have good or bad consequences).

      You're supposed to ignore stuff you aren't meant to know when making your decision. Which includes what you read about the case in the paper or online, or anything that gets said in court that the judge tells you to disregard. The only difference the internet makes is that it's easier for a juror to call up Google than it used to be to go to a newspaper library.

      1. Yugguy

        Re: It's ok, the jury will never knowq

        Relying on people's common sense????

  4. Sir Runcible Spoon


    Finally, there's a "currently non-public matter" that they also want to discuss with the judge – the nature of which has been redacted from court documents – which will be addressed in a conference to be held on December 15.

    Something to do with all those confiscated Bitcoins probably

    For its part, the government has asked that Ulbricht's lawyers be barred from discussing the consequences for Ulbricht should he be convicted,

    What, such as being made to work for the spooks?

    and they also don't want the jury to hear about Ulbricht's personal beliefs regarding drug laws or regulation of online commerce, saying it could lead to an "erroneous assumption that good motive is inconsistent with criminal intent.

    So on the one hand they want to include evidence relating to an offence that he hasn't been convicted of (yet) but they don't want the jury to understand the guys motives and thought processes? Are they expecting an insanity plea or something if the jury hear what the guy really thinks? Or are they frightened the jury might think he has a point in some way?

    Here's your cake, enjoy.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drug trial

    He is to be tried for the drugs thing, the murder thing is (at this stage) only an allegation (heresay) and should have no part in this trial.

    His views on drugs, murder, commerce or anything else is also nothing to do with the drugs charges unless he decides to use religious exemption (I is Rastafari) or plead guilty and wants his views taken into consideration in mitigation ( 'please be lenient on my client, he was a misguided fool but has seen the error of his ways' )

    The murder thing has nothing to do with his guilt/innocence of the drugs thing and should also be kept separate.

    Likewise the other thing (whatever that may be, tax evasion probably)

    1. Kevin 6

      Re: Drug trial


      Only reason I can see them trying to bring the hitman side into the drug trial would be to show what kind of character he has, but still it should not be allowed as it has nothing to do with the current trial.

      The attempted murder trial they could use the drug trade side though as evidence as to why he did it though.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Kevin 6 Re: Drug trial

        ".....Only reason I can see them trying to bring the hitman side into the drug trial would be to show what kind of character he has....." So you can't see that Roberts may have ordered the hits to silence witnesses who had knowledge of his drug crimes?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Kevin 6 Drug trial

          Just because he might be a murderous barsterd is irrelavent as to whether he was an international drugs dealer.

          His attitude towards international drugs dealing, consumption or murder has nothing to do with whether he was dealing in drugs or not.

          The question is, was he dealing in drugs or not ?, did he conspire with others to facilitate the dealing of illegal substances ?

          I don't care whether he was responsible for 9/11, was he responsible for the crimes that are alleged in this particular case and where is the evidence ? (all the rest is just shit, and the judge should know this and rule accordingly)

          (just because I am of proven bad character does not make me guilty of this particular crime)

  6. bonkers

    why bother with the drugs trial at all?

    If they have evidence of planned murder, surely this is a more important charge to press against him? Certainly my concept of what the police are there to do, would be to sort out murderers first, and facilitators of drug sales, erm about four hundred and thirty second.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: why bother with the drugs trial at all?

      There is only one 'conspiracy to commit murder' charge (not actual murder don't forget) yet there are probably hundreds of individual drug-related crimes he might be found guilty of.

      In the US I think this means he can receive a sentence for each instance (rather than as one group of crimes).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problem

    Don't admit the evidence for the drug trials but prosecute him for intent to murder after the drug prosecutions.

  8. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Hold on a no. The alleged murder plots were in order to prevent witnesses giving evidence against him? If those are prosecution witnesses in this case then that evidence would definitely be relevant to this case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not in the slightest.

      This case is

      The defendent is guilty/not guilty of the charges against him based on this evidence

      (not hearsay, not character, not upbringing, voting record, drinking record or criminal record)

      Just because he is the type to have committed this crime and has been found to have committed many similar crimes to this does not make him guilty of this one.

      Where is the direct evidence linking him with this (drugs) crime.

      The reason for the trial ordering is to make subsequent trials easier for the prosecution.

      If he is found guilty of the drugs thing the it will be easier to make a case for the murder plot thing (motive)

      If found guilty of the murder thing then laundering/evasion will be easier to prove (motive and means)

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