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Silk Road Trial Day 5: Agent Tom Kiernan Takes Stand to Share Contents of Ulbricht's Computer

• The Liberty Beat

by: John Bush

Day five in the Ross Ulbricht Trial saw the Prosecution call Computer Scientist and FBI Agent Tom Kiernan to the witness stand. Kiernan led the October 1st, 2013 arrest of Ulbricht at Glen Park Library in San Francisco, CA. During the arrest, plain clothes FBI Agents swiped Ulbricht's laptop and quickly handed it off to Agent Kiernan who was standing by to document it's contents and later have the hard drive imaged. It was the contents of that hard drive that was the focus of yesterday's testimony.

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Among the files revealed to the jury were detailed journal logs dating back to 2010 when the Silk Road was just an idea for an "economic experiment." The journals document much more than that however, recounting Ross' apparent execution of a mushroom grow operation out of a cabin in Bastrop, TX. He wrote that he sold the mushrooms, several kilos worth, for very cheap prices so as to drive interest in his newly launched Silk Road marketplace. The logs also share intimate details about Silk Road's day to day operation including staff changes, hosting issues, and growing pains.

Also present on the hard drive were what seemed to be the entirety of every conversation ever had on TorChat between Dread Pirate Roberts and his associates. There were messages to a user named Digital Alchemy about how to deal with vendors who break the rules. DPR wrote, "are you ready to become judge jury and executioner?" In one chat, DPR states he is looking to hire staff by posting on After his associate questioned his thought, DPR replied, "working for a criminal enterprise isn't exactly enticing."

After Wednesday's testimony, the Defense is facing an uphill battle convincing the jury of the narrative presented in their opening statement, that Ulbricht created Silk Road but he did not manage it or operate the site throughout it's lifetime. The jury will get to decide for themselves when Dratel cross examines Agent Kiernan today. Stay tuned to for regular updates.

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