Ross Ulbricht, the 31-year-old convicted mastermind behind drug market Silk Road, made one of his first communications with the outside world from prison since he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life there in May.
Ulbricht's mother, who has been campaigning on his behalf, posted the letter to her blog on Monday. It is addressed to Porcfest, or The Porcupine Freedom Festival, an annual Libertarian camping event Ulbricht has apparently attended in the past.
"Sorry I couldn't make it this year," he wrote. "Unfortunately the worst case scenario has played out for me and I've been sentenced to spend the rest of my life in prison. I am an eternal optimist though and will never give up hope for my release."
The letter has two sentences that have been obscured with white and replaced with different wording due to legal issues, according to his mother Lyn.
"A few words were changed as per the attorneys' guidance," she wrote on Facebook. "It was a question of semantics and incorrect use of legal terms, not a change of meaning and no time to have Ross re-write before Porcfest."
In February, Ulbricht was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for creating and running Silk Road, which facilitated nearly $200 million in drug transactions over the course three years. He is appealing the conviction, and used the letter as an opportunity to ask for more funds, saying "there is only so much we can do without your donations." His defense fund has raised $370,000 of its $650,000 goal as of the time of writing.
"I hope my story has shed some light on some of the issues we face these days he wrote," there are many, but please don't let what's happened to me lead you to despair. Keep standing for liberty and respect for our rights. Keep fighting for your freedom and eventually we will win."