U.S. President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing whether he should give the jailed founder of the defunct dark web marketplace Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, a pardon.
According to a report by the Daily Beast on Tuesday, the White House counsel’s office is reviewing Ulbricht’s case documents.
The Daily Beast cites three sources familiar with the matter claiming the president has been reviewing cases ahead of his next round of pardons and commutations before the Jan. 20, 2021, inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
A final decision on Ulbricht’s case is yet to be determined, according to the report, but the notorious Silk Road founder reportedly has influential backers within the president’s inner circles pushing for a pardon, the report said.
“I’ve had documents forwarded to my contacts in the White House as early as February,” said activist Weldon Angelos, a former music producer and ex-federal inmate cited in the Daily Beast article.
Weldon was quoted in the report as saying he had been contacted by Ulbricht’s family and was “hopeful” that Trump would commute his sentence in full. “This case has perhaps more support than I’ve seen in any case of this kind.”
Ulbricht was the founder and main administrator of the dark web marketplace the Silk Road back in 2011 which used bitcoin as its main payment method for dealing in illicit contraband including drugs and weapons.
The Silk Road used Tor anonymity to hide the location of servers and drew the ire of law enforcement as the site grew in popularity and notoriety.
After a long investigation, Ulbricht’s online identity – Dread Pirate Roberts – was revealed and he was subsequently arrested, charged and convicted for money laundering, computer fraud, and various drug charges. He is currently serving a double life sentence plus forty years without chance for parole.
Ulbricht is considered a cult hero amongst some in the crypto community as well as political activists who argue that his sentence was unnecessarily harsh.