back to article Accused Silk Road boss's lawyer insists he was just a fall guy

The decision in the trial of accused Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht is heading for the jury after attorneys presented their closing arguments in a New York City courtroom on Tuesday. Ulbricht's attorney Joshua Dratel presented a brief defense that consisted of a three character witnesses, a private investigator who gave …

  1. Alister

    [Ulbricht] built it, he grew it, he operated it from start to bottom until the end

    Ah, maybe he should have operated it from top to finish instead, clearly he was confused...

  2. Turtle

    Thriving As Ever.

    "'The internet is not what it seems,' Forbes reports Dratel as saying. 'The internet permits, and thrives on, to some extent, deception and misdirection.'"

    So much so, in fact, that you'd think that it'd been designed by defense lawyers.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Effective "a big boy did it and ran away" defenses require...

    ...some decent evidence of big boy involvement. Otherwise we may as well say Russell's teapot did it ("go on, PROVE it didn't...")

    1. LucreLout

      Re: Effective "a big boy did it and ran away" defenses require...

      I hope he hasn't paid his lawyer very much. He'd hardly have had a worse outcome had he literally employed the Chewbacca defence.

      1. Peter 26

        Re: Effective "a big boy did it and ran away" defenses require...

        Yep, he's lost this one. I would expect the jury to spend half a day deliberating at most if they were taking their job seriously, otherwise it'd be the 5 minutes taken to all vote.

        1. Robert Helpmann??

          Re: Effective "a big boy did it and ran away" defenses require...

          I have been following this with my uninterested-in-internet-or-legal-affairs teenager. When TDPR announced his defense, I asked if it was at all believable. Given the look I got back, I had a pretty good idea what the outcome was going to be.

      2. MonkeyCee

        Re: Effective "a big boy did it and ran away" defenses require...

        I know it's fun to blame the lawyers, but it probably isn't the fault of the defence brief, more likely the defendant has not been too helpful, or has opted to not go after some of the stronger options available. This may tie in to the fact that the defendant is facing other charges, and might rely on something that would be contradicted by his more robust options in this trial.

        From what I gathered from people who actually know US law (I know a bit of contract law, not much criminal) if he had said the Icelandic server was his, then the search and seizure of it would be on very shaky legal grounds, and the majority of the state's evidence may have been dismissed. The judge pretty much pointed this out, but the defence decided to not make the claim.

        There are a few ideas about this, one being that "the server is mine" might make the running Silk Road prosecution fail, but would slam dunk the attempted murder charges. Others include Ross directing his lawyer to not se this approach, that the funding for his defence would dry up (it's donations) if he went and said "Argh, I be DPR, that be my scurvy server".

        In my experience if there is idiocy in a courtroom, it's caused by clients, rather than lawyers. They might be evil and want to get paid, but they usually will give you the best advice to win.

  4. Sir Runcible Spoon


    If he is found guilty, and then subsequently found not-guilty of the attempt to solicit a hitman, does the inclusion of that information in this trial mean the verdict could be thrown out and get a re-trail?

    There's a minotaur in here somewhere.

    1. breakfast

      Re: Sir

      Why are you worrying about a trial in America when there is a minotaur in there with you? You need to get to safety!

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Sir

      Not at all. "Not guilty" doesn't mean "you didn't do it", it means "there isn't enough evidence to prove that you did it beyond reasonable doubt".

      You can be convicted because of lots of little things where each little thing on its own is not proven beyond reasonable doubt, but there is enough evidence that you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the whole mess.

      1. Turtle

        @gnasher729 Re: Sir

        Good post. Most people seem to equate "not guilty" with 'innocent".

    3. Jean Stone

      Re: Sir

      No, why would you think otherwise? If it can be proven (under the appropriate standard of evidence) that you did X but not Y, then it's still been proven that you did X and will be sentenced accordingly. It also doesn't necessarily mean you didn't do Y (though it obviously can as well), just that the prosecution didn't meet its burden of proof. And being charged with several things you weren't proven to have done doesn't mean you weren't found guilty of everything else and it doesn't mean you're entitled to a retrial on just the things you were, y'know, already found guilty of doing.

      There's more about bringing all claims in one proceeding, which gets into issues of double jeopardy and preclusion but I think you get the idea.

  5. casaloco

    Apparently they missed the point

    Apparently they missed the point of the moniker "Dread Pirate Roberts".

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