Report Claims US President Trump Considering Clemency for Ross Ulbricht

Report Claims US President Trump Considering Clemency for Ross UlbrichtAccording to two anonymous sources, U.S. President Donald Trump is considering clemency for Ross Ulbricht. White House reporters Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley claim sources detailed that Trump “has expressed sympathy” for Ross Ulbricht and his double life sentences. Ross Ulbricht may get clemency from the sitting U.S. President Donald Trump if the American leader […]

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Movie based on darknet market Silk Road premiering in February

The film will reportedly focus on what led to Ross Ulbricht’s arrest as the founder of the darknet marketplace.

Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s story is coming to the silver screen in 2021 following an announcement from major entertainment company Lionsgate.

According to Deadline, Lionsgate has acquired the rights to the Silk Road movie and plans to release the feature in theaters and online starting on Feb. 19. The film will reportedly be based on the 2014 Rolling Stone article Dead End on Silk Road, focusing on the lead up to Ulbricht’s arrest as the founder of the darknet marketplace.

Nick Robinson, the 25-year-old American actor from Jurassic World, will portray Ulbricht, who is now 36 and serving two life sentences in federal prison. He was found guilty of money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Ulbricht’s story has appeared in major media on more than one occasion. Last month, CBS aired a documentary about the takedown of the Silk Road dark web marketplace featuring an interview with Ulbricht’s ex-girlfriend. The Silk Road movie was originally scheduled to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, but the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The Silk Road founder was arrested by the FBI in 2013 and will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. Ulbricht still provides occasional analyses on the Bitcoin market on his Medium blog from the U.S. Penitentiary in Tucson.

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Crypto players plead presidential pardon case for Ross Ulbricht

Many are calling for Donald Trump to grant clemency to the Silk Road founder before he leaves office on Jan. 20.

With just 44 days before Joe Biden’s inauguration as President of the United States, players in the crypto space are imploring Donald Trump to use his pardoning power for Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. 

In a recent tweet from Jason Williams, the Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder pleaded for Trump to “do the right thing” by pardoning Ulbricht as well as whistleblower Edward Snowden. Peter McCormack of the What Bitcoin Did podcast followed suit a few days later, adding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the list of potential pardons.

The three — Snowden, Ulbricht, and Assange — are among many names being put forth by advisers, pundits, and conservative commentators as Trump serves out the rest of his presidency. Ulbricht, the founder of dark web marketplace Silk Road, is currently serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of federal charges on money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor turned whistleblower, left the United States in 2013 and was granted asylum in Russia. The Department of Justice has charged him with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property. He has since stated he will apply for Russian citizenship.

Though an Australian national, Assange has faced charges from more than one national authority, including for allegations of sexual assault in Sweden. In 2019, the United States charged him with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 related to the release of documents provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning on WikiLeaks. Assange is currently in a U.K. prison awaiting an extradition decision to be tried in the U.S.

According to a Supreme Court decision, the power of the U.S. President to pardon someone is “unlimited” — though this ruling is being questioned in the media amid rumors Trump is considering preemptively pardoning himself before leaving the White House on Jan. 20. Since taking office in 2017, he has pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the conviction of 45 individuals charged with federal offenses.

Because there is no limit to the number of federal pardons Trump can issue, deciding who receives one can simply be a matter of a response to a public outcry or personal preference. Trump said in August he was “going to start looking at” pardoning Snowden, while a lawyer for Assange has claimed a former Republican congressman offered the WikiLeaks founder a presidential pardon as well. While Snowden is a possible recipient of a pardon, he has also advocated for Assange to receive one instead of himself.

Without a definitive statement from the U.S. president and time running out, crypto players are seemingly hoping to put Assange, Snowden, Ulbricht, or some combination of three to the top of the list — or at least prominently on Twitter — to catch Trump’s attention. 

Not all crypto users were so eager to see Ulbricht potentially go free, given the controversial nature of Silk Road as a facilitator for buying and selling drugs.

“I will never understand why so many Bitcoin maximalists are eager to pardon Ross Ulbricht,” said Jax Draper. “I believe he got an extreme sentence, and that he’s possible of changing, but he’s very far from ‘innocent.’”

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CBS doco on Silk Road throws spotlight on Ross Ulbricht

The Silk Road saga gets more airtime on the latest CBS News documentary

Mainstream U.S. media outlet CBS is airing a documentary tonight on the takedown of the Silk Road dark web marketplace.

It features an interview with Julia Vie, former girlfriend of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht who claims ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ wasn’t motivated by money — to the point where he didn’t even own a car — and that he was not a drug pusher.

In 2015 Ulbricht was found guilty of charges including aiding and abetting the distribution of narcotics, fraudulent ID trafficking, and money laundering in 2015 and received two life sentences plus 40 years.

There are calls for his release in an ongoing campaign popular with some in the crypto community. Proponents claim that he should be freed as he was a first-time offender, and all charges were non-violent in nature.

The FBI Declassified: The Dangerous Journey on the Silk Road’ aims to bring viewers closer to the FBI investigation that took down the illicit marketplace that brought Bitcoin into public consciousness as the primary method of payment.

In the documentary FBI special agents discuss how the Silk Road was used for all kinds of illicit activity such as the sales of drugs, weapons, poisons, computer hacking services, and even discussion on murders-for-hire.

Julie Vie says in excerpts released from the documentary that she remembered him coming up with the name.

“He said something about […] the Silk Road in Asia […] and how it was a huge network […] And that’s what he wanted to create, so he thought it was the perfect name.”

She added that he spent “practically 24/7” on his computer and their relationship fell apart soon after Ulbricht launched Silk Road. Stating that she knew it was something shady, but had no idea it was as big as it was, Vie continued;

“I think he knew he was going to get caught — and end up being a martyr for his cause,”

FBI agents working on the case cited drug addiction and deaths as the primary reason the government wanted to shut down Silk Road. After several failed attempts, they finally got lucky through a “coding error on the site” that ultimately led them to Ulbricht.

In the interview, Vie stated that Ulbricht was not street smart, adding;

“He was not at all a drug kingpin […] He never even used the money he made […] I mean, most kingpins buy furs and jewels and they’re living the life. He didn’t even have a car!”

Last week the United States Department of Justice seized around $1 billion in Bitcoin and a handful of other cryptocurrencies from a  Silk Road wallet that had been untouched since 2015.

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The Silk Road Balance Sheet Discrepancy: Bitcoin Worth $4.8 Billion Still Missing

The Silk Road Balance Sheet Discrepancy: Bitcoin Worth $4.8 Billion Still MissingThe original Silk Road marketplace has been shut down for well over seven years now and to this day, 444,000 bitcoin worth $4.8 billion is still missing. Just recently, a report focused on those funds discusses one of the market’s biggest mysteries and how people have seemingly forgotten about this massive stash. A number of […]

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