- Ross Ulbricht has been denied a presidential pardon
- There were suggestions that outgoing president Trump was considering Ulbricht’s case
- The Silk Road founder will now have to wait for at least four years before another shot at freedom
Ross Ulbricht has missed out on a presidential pardon for the second time after Donald Trump’s final list was published today. Ulbricht was thought to have been under consideration for presidential clemency when outgoing president Donald Trump was said to have expressed sympathy for his sentence, but those chances took a knock when his name wasn’t mentioned in the first round of pardons just before Christmas. With the final list, published last Tuesday, not featuring Ulbricht’s name he is now resigned to waiting until incoming president Joe Biden leaves office for another shot at freedom.
Ulbricht Reliant on Presidential Grace
Ulbricht was sentenced in 2015 to two life sentences plus 40 years for establishing and operating the Silk Road dark web marketplace between 2011 and 2013, which many, including an appeal judge, noted as being excessive. Since Ulbricht has run out of appeal options his only hope remains a presidential pardon which could come in three forms – pardon, commutation, or reprieve.
Barack Obama left office without pardoning Ulbricht in 2016, and now Trump has done the same, despite apparently being aware of Ulbricht’s plight. A report by the Daily Beast in December suggested that Trump had “privately expressed some sympathy for Ulbricht’s situation” and was considering including him in his list of what turned out to be 140 clemency orders, but the odds were slashed when Ulbricht’s name was not among the first tranche of 15 individuals in late December.
Silk Road Founder Has Eyes on 2024
With Ulbricht’s name not appearing alongside those of Steve Bannon and rapper Lil Wayne in the main list issued today, he now knows that he will not get another shot at freedom until 2024 at the earliest, unless Biden wins a second term in office in which case that won’t be on the cards until 2028, almost two decades after Silk Road opened for business.