Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Reacts to Donald Trump’s Campaign Promise

May 27, 2024

Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road marketplace, in a dramatic turn of events, expressed heartfelt gratitude after former President Donald Trump pledged to commute his life sentence if re-elected.

Speaking at the Libertarian National Convention on Saturday, Trump’s promise to free Ulbricht, who has spent 11 years in prison, was met with overwhelming cheers, resonating deeply with Ulbricht’s supporters who have long argued that his punishment was excessively harsh.

Ulbricht conveyed his deep appreciation for the support he has received over the years and his reaction to Trump’s pledge in a heartfelt tweet over the weekend. “Last night, Donald Trump pledged to commute my sentence on day 1, if reelected. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. After 11 years in prison, it is hard to express how I feel at this moment. It is thanks to your undying support that I may get a second chance,” the Silk Road founder said in an X post.

During the Libertarian National Convention, Trump’s speech took a dramatic turn when he promised to commute Ulbricht’s sentence if elected. “If you vote for me, I will free Ross Ulbricht,” Trump stated plainly, turning a moment of booing into an eruption of cheers from the crowd. This announcement was strategically timed to galvanize support from the Libertarian audience, many of whom view Ulbricht’s life sentence as a severe overreach of government power.

Ulbricht, known by his online alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2015. His charges included conspiracy to commit money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics, stemming from his role in creating and operating the Silk Road, a darknet marketplace that facilitated illegal transactions. The court cited six deaths from drugs bought on the website and five people he tried to have killed as reasons for the severe sentence.

Ulbricht’s tweet has drawn widespread attention, attracting over 1.3 million views, with many supporters expressing their joy and hope for his release. The tweet highlights the emotional toll of his imprisonment and the potential for a new chapter in his life.

The “Free Ross” movement, comprising over 250 organizations, lawmakers, and respected individuals, has long advocated for Ulbricht’s release, arguing that his sentence is excessively harsh. They maintain that Ulbricht does not deserve to die in prison and would never break the law again if freed.

As the 2024 election season progresses, the focus on Ross Ulbricht’s potential commutation remains a contentious issue. Ulbricht’s emotional reaction underscores the personal impact of Trump’s promise, bringing attention to the broader debates on justice and sentencing in the United States. The “Free Ross” movement continues to push for Ulbricht’s release, viewing Trump’s pledge as a pivotal moment in their long-standing campaign.

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