The federal judge overseeing the trial of Ross Ulbricht, the man convicted of creating the underground Silk Road drug website, has denied the Ulbricht legal team's attempt to extend the normal three-year window for "post-conviction relief." In essence, the move stifles Ulbricht’s new attorney's extraordinary effort to re-open the case with new exculpatory evidence, on the off-chance that it exists.
On February 5 in a brief, handwritten note, US District Judge Katherine Forrest blocked efforts by Ulbricht’s new lawyer, Paul Grant, to go beyond the standard 36-month period allowed in what is called a "Rule 33 motion." (Grant took over the case from Ulbricht’s previous counsel, Joshua Dratel, in June 2017, shortly after an appellate court upheld Ulbricht’s conviction and double life sentence.)
"The motion to extend time for a Rule 33 motion is DENIED," Judge Forrest wrote. "A Rule 33 motion is not an opportunity to relitigate that which has been litigated, or to engage in a fishing expedition for new evidence. The Court appreciates that Mr. Grant was not involved in the trial, but the transcript reveals that the very evidence to which he now points (that the FBI was monitoring the defendant's online movements) was explicitly known at the trial."