Ulbricht Pardon Chances Take a Knock

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  • Ross Ulbricht’s chances of receiving a presidential pardon took a blow yesterday he was not among 15 individuals granted clemency by Donald Trump
  • The outgoing president pardoned members of his inner circle and U.S. contractors accused of murder
  • Ulbricht is serving two life sentences plus 40 years for creating and running Silk Road

Ross Ulbricht’s chances of a presidential pardon took a bad knock yesterday as it was revealed that outgoing president Donald Trump has gone on something of a pardoning spree that didn’t include the Silk Road founder. Ulbrich’s name was a surprise inclusion on the list for consideration, with many both inside and outside the crypto world acknowledging the harshness of his sentence in 2015, but Trump’s quashing of 15 individuals’ sentences yesterday reduces the chances for Ulbricht to receive clemency.

Sympathy Doesn’t Translate to Action

There was talk last week that Ulbricht, who was given two life sentences plus 40 years for creating and running Silk Road, was being considered for a pardon by president Trump who had apparently “expressed some sympathy” for Ulbricht’s plight.

However, this sympathy hasn’t transferred into the first round of presidential pardons, which saw 15 individuals, including ex-campaign aide George Papadopoulos, get their sentences commuted. Unlike Ulbricht they will be able to spend Christmas with their families. Trump has now pardoned over 40 people, many of them with a “personal or political connection to the president,” according to a July analysis by the Lawfare blog.

Ulbricht Still Stands a Chance

Alongside Ulbricht there have also been calls for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowdon and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to also get clemency. However, with this first round of pardons Trump has stuck to members of his inner circle and those he views to have served the country, which doesn’t include the trio.

There is still a chance for Ulbricht to get a presidential pardon as Trump is expected to grant clemency to more individuals before he leaves office on January 20, but given that Trump has developed a kind of pardoning formula it is looking less and less likely that Ulbricht will be starting 2021 a free man.