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Alleged Silk Road Mastermind Appears in Court


SAN FRANCISCO–The 29-year-old man accused of masterminding the notorious Silk Road drug forum appeared in court minutes ago for a planned bail hearing, but his lawyer asked for a continuance until next week to give him more time to prepare.

A subdued, clean-cut Ross William Ulbricht wore jail-issued red shirt and pants and ankle restraints during the brief appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge. He conferred with his court-appointed attorney quietly, then scanned the packed courtroom gallery before facing the judge. Ulbricht allegedly operated Silk Road as “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

Public Defender Brandon LeBlanc told the judge that he’d need more time to review the case and prepare an argument for Ulbricht’s pre-trial release based on a new federal complaint that was unsealed late Wednesday charging Ulbricht in a murder-for-hire conspiracy.

Public defender Brandon LeBlanc told the judge that he expected the prosecutor to ask for detainment based on Ulbricht being a flight risk and needed more time to prepare.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Luskey objected, saying that prosecutors wanted to transfer Ulbricht quickly to the charging district — the Southern District of New York, which filed the initial complaint against Ulbricht charging him with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. The second complaint out of Maryland charges him with conspiring to commit murder based on allegations that he tried to pay for the execution of an employee of Silk Road and one of the site’s vendors.

The judge granted a delay until next Wednesday.


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