Ross Ulbricht, known as Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR) and the mastermind behind the Silk Road online drug marketplace, has been denied a motion to dismiss all criminal counts. Dread Pirate will proceed to trial in New York in November. Judge Katherine Forrest offered a 51-page ruling rejecting all the defense’s arguments.
Most interesting was the defense’s argument that money laundering charges are irrelevant because Silk Road’s currency was Bitcoin and Bitcoin isn’t ‘money.’ Her response: “‘Money’ is an object used to buy things.” Next. The defense also argued that Ulbricht shouldn’t be charged with hacking offenses under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act because Ulbricht did not himself access a computer without authorization or exceed such authorization. Forrest passed the buck some here, responding: “Whether this issue has any special significance can only be determined at trial.” Next. “Ulbricht’s alleged conduct is not analogous to an individual who merely steers buyers to sellers; rather he has provided the marketing mechanism, the procedures for the sale, and facilities for the actual exchange,” the judge wrote. “He is alleged to know that his facilities would be used for illicit purposes and in fact, he designed and operated them for that purpose.”