Ross Ulbricht and the Mystery of the Disappearing Silk Road Murder Charges
Ross Ulbricht was initially charged with solicitation of murder along with a bevy of other drug trafficking charges. A year later, after motions were filed by Ulbrict’s defense attorney Josh Dratel, a superseding indictment was filed, and the salacious murder charges were dropped.
Why have six of the most important accusations been left as yet uncharged?
“Maybe you don’t have that proof,” criminal defense attorney Jay Leiderman told the Daily Dot. “Maybe the proof isn’t as good as you thought it was.”
Ulbricht, meanwhile, was guilty until proven innocent.
“The case comes in, it’s a big splash, it’s all over the news,” Leiderman explained. “Almost a year later, these big mean offensive counts get dropped, it’s not a front page story anymore. It’s somewhere in the recesses of the paper, its just not a big deal. At that point people already associate the case with murder-for-hire. No prosecutor would ever say that’s what they’re doing, but as a long term criminal defense attorney, this happens all the time.”
“The whole point of having extra indictments is to put extra pressure on,” Leiderman explained, “and bring you to the table to force a resolution.”
While five of the murder indictments have been excluded from the charges in New York, where Ulbricht is scheduled to stand trial in January, the sixth remains in a Maryland indictment against Ulbricht, a document that hasn’t been touched for over a year. And there’s no reason for prosecutors to change the Maryland indictment at this point because it’s a useful tool.
“That’s typically the purpose of these things,” Leiderman told me.