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Ross Ulbricht's Lawyer Requests Suppression Of Silk Road Evidence 54

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the go-long dept.
Despite a failed attempt to have charges dismissed, the alleged Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht's lawyer has filed a new motion to have evidence dismissed, citing recent court rulings in an argument that the Silk Road related searches were overly broad. From the article: Dratel [Ulbricht's lawyer] argues in his 102-page motion filed last Friday that "the government conducted a series of 14 searches and seizures of various physical devices containing electronically stored information ('ESI'), and of ESI itself from Internet providers and other sources. Some of the ESI was obtained via search warrant, but other ESI was obtained via court order, and still other ESI was obtained without benefit of any warrant at all." ...

The defense lawyer argues that even the searches for which the government had a warrant were overbroad and based on evidence that may have been obtained illegally. The attorney writes: " As set forth ante, all of the searches and seizures conducted pursuant to warrants and/or orders were based on the initial ability of the government to locate the Silk Road Servers, obtain the ESI on them, and perform extensive forensic analysis of that ESI. Thus, all subsequent searches and seizures are invalid if that initial locating the Silk Road Servers, obtaining their ESI, and gaining real-time continued access to those servers, was accomplished unlawfully."
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Ross Ulbricht's Lawyer Requests Suppression Of Silk Road Evidence

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  • Now watch my hands. Are you watching my hands? Good. Now, Presto!

  • by jjn1056 (85209) <jjn1056&yahoo,com> on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:31AM (#47605971) Homepage Journal

    We all know his lawyer has the burden to basically try anything and everything between now and (possible) sentencing to get the client off or reduced penalty. The system is adversarial on purpose. What will be interesting to some of us is to see if there was anything used here to find him that is really pushing the limits right. I mean the official story I hear is that he was found with old fashion leg work more than anything else. I am interested to know how true that might be. I think a lot of us are worried some of that mega NSA power is being serendipitously shared with law enforcement, and then they cover it up. We have some reason to think that is and has happened.

    • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:48AM (#47606035)
      Compared to the other arguments his lawyer has used, this one might actually have promise. I would not be surprised if this one took longer to try because they were actually taking it seriously. Even with lots of legwork, if the final evidence was collected illegally it could very well be inadmissible, and standards when it comes to this type of evidence are still in flux with investigators not having clear rules to go by yet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by skovnymfe (1671822)
        Prosecution will just mention that FISA court, and woopsydaisy it's suddenly all legal, because terrorism.
        • by leuk_he (194174)

          No no, the gathering of the information becomes legal. Using it in a "normal" case is an entire different story.(according to the lawyer) You cannot make the gathering of everything digital that is happening for security, and then using this information in a "normal" drugs case. If he tried to do a terrorist action, then it would disappears in the drawer. However This is a normal criminal case, and in such a case the police has to follow certain procedures.

          • This is a normal criminal case, and in such a case the police has to follow certain procedures.

            No, they don't. It's just as much a free for all with them as it is with the feds. The authorities only have to cover their tracks and not get caught.

            • by jythie (914043)
              Individual judges can go either way though. Never forget that the fed is not a uniform block but is instead a confusing mix of many priorities and ideologies.
    • by rmdingler (1955220) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:59AM (#47606071)

      I mean the official story I hear is that he was found with old fashion leg work more than anything else. I am interested to know how true that might be. I think a lot of us are worried some of that mega NSA power is being serendipitously shared with law enforcement, and then they cover it up. We have some reason to think that is and has happened.

      If a tool exists that eases the human labor necessary to accomplish a task, and that tool is within reach of the aforementioned human, the tool will not sit idle.

      It would be fairly easy to work backwards from the fruit of the poisonous tree with some old fashioned leg work. It's not that we know that's what happened, but it merits a mention for the defendant's day in court.

    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:59AM (#47606073) Homepage

      Based on the indictments it's hard to know how he was found. The indictment certainly gives a plausible explanation for how it happened - he was sloppy about linkage of his personal and alter-ego accounts online, but as noted in the articles, there are certain gaps and inconsistencies in the story and parts of it may have been filled out retroactively (the notorious "parallel construction"). Apparently what his lawyer is hoping, is that they get a judge who feels like putting the FBI in their place with respect to such issues, and it turns out that they found the Silk Road servers via some NSA related trickery then worked backwards to find Ulbricht, then worked out a plausible but untrue alternative explanation for how he was located. Such a thing if found to have happened could plausibly throw a spanner in the entire prosecution.

      However, it seems a long shot.

    • Adversarial? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by buckfeta2014 (3700011)
      That's an understatement. They're trying to charge the guy with "Continuing Criminal Enterprise", a charge reserved for gangsters who continue to run their gang from inside prison. How did Ulbricht keep making changes to Silk Road after being imprisoned? It's rather hard to do something electronic when you have no access to electronics because you're in jail.
      • by raymorris (2726007) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:53AM (#47606373)

        CCE has nothing to do with being in prison. The requirements for conviction under Continuing Criminal Enterprise are that the defendant:
        Managed or supervised
        a series of
        felony
        drug offenses
        involving at least four other people.

        That actually sounds a LOT like "running a drug market", which about right.

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki... [wikipedia.org]

        • It sounds more like being a drug kingpin, and claiming that DPR is one of those is akin to saying that Craig Newmark is the boss of a prostitution ring.
          • 99% of the ads on Craigslist are for something other than hookers.
            Craigslist wasn't specifically designed for illegal activity.

            Silk Road was designed for illegal activity, and was mostly used for illegal activity.

            Further, Craigslist took care of the hooker issue when it became a problem. The hookers are on Backpage now.

            • I don't think you are getting the point. These big scary, "fuck due process" laws were sold to the public as a means of toppling crime factories and their complex legal maneuvering to avoid prosecution for anyone important. Basically, for stopping the real world equivalent of supervillains.
              • There is a lot of crap worth complaining about, and I think you've missed it if you're complaining about CCE.
                How exactly is CCE a "fuck due process law"? A defendant is indicted, tried by jury. The jury concludes the evidence shows that beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant directed multiple felonies. Where exactly is due process missing?

            • Tell that to the hookers that keep posting in my citys CL.
    • by ultranova (717540)

      The system is adversarial on purpose.

      Specifically, the purpose is to ensure you're as equal before the law as the contents of your wallet allow. Unless you pissed off someone more powerful, of course, in which case they will be confiscated.

  • False dichotomy? Sure.

    Reasonable tenet for legal admissibility of evidence? Absolutely.

    Prosecutors and law enforcement personnel should have to operate within the law in order to exercise its enforcement.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Prosecutors and law enforcement personnel should have to operate within the law in order to exercise its enforcement

      Yes, they most definitely should, but this is the united states legal system you are talking about. One where prosecutors and law enforcement have been ordered to perjure themselves by the federal government in order to keep questionable surveillance technologies (such as stingray) out of the courts eye. One where prosecutors and law enforcement have been encouraged by the federal government to use evidence laundering (parallel reconstruction) to hide the fact that evidence is routinely being illegally acqu

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Something sounds fishy, at least according to the defense the government didn't provide the evidence suggesting how they knew of the the location of the servers being used to commit illegal acts. It could be another case of "Parallel Construction" which may involve illegal interception of mail and communications without a court order. It almost sounds like they just went to a Judge with no evidence just "their word" that they knew something illegal was going at this location and the judge just rubber stam

  • Theories like "the IRS won't tax it because it's law".
    Or it's hearsay and ignoring the 27 some exceptions to the hearsay rules?
    Even this story already borders on getting it wrong. "Fruit of the poisonous tree" can be gotten around by if you can demonstrate that the same evidence would inevitably have been obtained by legal means that they were undertaking.

  • by maroberts (15852) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:32AM (#47606233) Homepage Journal

    If a court did throw out all the evidence, and as a result they had to return all the Sold Bitcoin [theguardian.com]?

  • by SpzToid (869795) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:36AM (#47606269)

    In a homicide investigation, it really helps if you actually have a dead body with which to continue working with. What the defense here is saying effectively, "you haven't found the body, have you? So where is your case then? And certainly, what exactly are the legal merits of your case based upon the legal evidence available, so you claim?"

  • by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:46AM (#47606667) Homepage Journal

    You gotta give the guy credit. He's taking every possible spin he can to get his guilty client off.

    • by phayes (202222)

      Looks more like he is throwing everything he can think of at the wall in order to find something that might work. Given how slowly the wheels of justice turn it delays the eventual reckoning but Judges tire of the technique eventually [arstechnica.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Makes sense, your illegitimate state is taking every possible spin to imprison Ulbricht for an unjust law.

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