This Is the Previously Redacted Witness List for the Silk Road Trial
The first day of the Silk Road trial is underway.
Ross Ulbricht. Image: YouTube
The first day of the Silk Road trial is underway, where federal prosecutors will work to prove Ross Ulbricht is the kingpin responsible for the creation and operation of underground internet drug market Silk Road.
As the case began, Ulbricht entered the courtroom in seemingly good spirits, repeatedly turning to smile and wave at his mother and father, who were sitting in the second row benches of the court room.
The prosecution released the witnesses they plan to call to testify over the course of the trial, the list of which was read by Judge Katherine Forrest to the court. Forrest didn't spell out every name, and it's not yet clear who all of the witnesses are, so feel free to share insight in the comments (Update 3:45 PM: We've learned one of the witnesses is a friend of Ulbricht's from college, who apparently gave him programming advice, but we need to confirm the name):
1. Jared DerYeghiayan, homeland security special investigation agent
2. Thomas Kiernan
3. Gary Alford, special agent with the US Internal Revenue Service who was involved with the forfeiture of Silk Road assets.
4. Darren Critten
5. Ilhwan Yum, cybersecurity expert for the FBI.
6. Benedickt Grandad
7. Christopher Heesen
8. Richard Bates
9. Michael Duch
10. Andrew Michael Jones, a Silk Road administrator known as "Inigo" who was previously arrested for charges related to the site.
11. Brian Shaw
The remainder of the day thus far has consisted of jury selection. As the trial gets underway, the issue of advanced technological aspects of the case are already being addressed. Before the jury was called, Judge Forrest settled a debate over whether chat logs that will be used as evidence would be read aloud by the paralegals with the prosecution, or they would be read as text.
Defense lawyer Joshua Dratel argued the jury should "absorb [the logs] in the way they were designed to be absorbed"—by reading them. Judge Forrest ruled the logs would be read aloud by the prosecution, although not in conversation form by the two paralegals, as the prosecution originally argued. She did say, however, the jury should "note punctuation and emoticons."
Forrest also noted to the jury that she is keeping in mind the "highly technical concepts," of the case.
"If I believe things are not understandable to the average juror, we will talk about what might be a reasonable way to proceed at that time," she said. During the jury selection process, potential jurors were asked some technical questions like whether jurors think it's unethical for government to get info through pen registers, which were likely beyond the familiarity of many jurors.
The second half of today's proceedings began at 2:30, when the opening arguments will be read and the first witness, Deryegnan, will be called. Motherboard will be covering the trial as it unfolds, so check back here for updates.