Silk Road orchestrator Ross Ulbricht faces trial in less than a month. He is facing charges of narcotics conspiracy, money laundering, and computer fraud. The prosecution and judge have decided to keep confidential the names of the witnesses testifying against him, for fear of their safety.
The prosecution made a request to New York district court judge Katherine Forrest to have certain names redacted from the full witness list to reduce the risk of “harm and intimidation.” She has allowed the prosecution’s witness list for this case to be kept secret until Friday, January 2, or the Friday before the trial begins the following Monday morning. This was in response to the prosecutions reference to the FBI’s account that Ulbricht allegedly paid for the murders of six people. At least one of those six was someone he feared would inform on him to law enforcement. Judge Forest explains in a letter she was
“in no position to find that [those murder-for-hire allegations] are baseless or that witnesses who are known to be preparing to testify against defendant would not be at risk of some retaliatory act.”
This makes preparation for Ulbricht’s defense much more difficult for his attorney. Although Ulbricht’s complained he is jailed “without email and has extremely limited access to the outside world,” the judge responded that Ulbricht could still reach contacts that could make threats. Ulbricht is also charged with attempting to pay an undercover DEA agent for the killing of Curtis Clark Green in a separate Maryland case.