Alleged Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht’s Fourth Amendment Rights Were Violated, Lawyers Say

The searches were the “very type of indiscriminate rummaging that caused the American colonists so much consternation"
Alleged Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht's Fourth Amendment Rights Were Violated, Lawyers Say

by Kate Vinton | Forbes | August 4, 2014


As 30-year-old Ross Ulbricht awaits trial as the alleged mastermind behind the drug-trafficking site known as the Silk Road, his lawyers have now filed two motions to drop all charges against the supposed “Dread Pirate Roberts.” Filed on Friday, the second pre-trial motion focused not on Ulbricht’s drug trafficking or money laundering charges but on key questions about privacy and the law in today’s digital age, while referencing back to the Founding Fathers.

On Friday, Ulbricht’s lawyers filed a pre-trial motion asking the court to dismiss all charges in the case because of violations to Ulbricht’s Fourth Amendment rights, which protect him from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” According to the motion, the government’s original infiltration of the Silk Road as well as 14 searches and seizures of Ulbricht’s digital information which followed should be “rendered inadmissible.”

n one part of the 102-page document, Ulbricht’s lawyers detail the search and seizure warrants, which led to Ulbricht’s arrest in a San Francisco library in October 2013. Ulbricht was then charged with participation in narcotics trafficking conspiracy, continuing criminal enterprise, computer hacking conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. The search warrants and court orders gave investigators permission to tap and trace devices and pen registers for various IP addresses, seize and search computer servers, search Ulbricht’s residence, seize and search a silver Samsung laptop allegedly belonging to Ulbricht, and search the contents of the email account “rossulbricht@gmail.com” and the Facebook account with the user name “rossulbricht.”


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