Trump just spotlighted Ross Ulbricht, founder of the online illegal drug marketplace Silk Road. Here's why he's a hero to some.


  • Trump vowed to commute Ross Ulbricht’s sentence at the Libertarian National Convention.

  • Libertarians view Ulbricht’s life sentence as a symbol of government overreach.

  • Trump also promised to include a Libertarian in his cabinet if elected.

Donald Trump made an address at the Libertarian National Convention on Saturday, promising to commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht, the jailed founder of the infamous online drug marketplace Silk Road.

“If you vote for me, on Day One, I will commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht,” Trump declared to enthusiastic applause from the crowd in Washington, DC.

The move to highlight Ulbricht was strategically catered to Libertarian voters.

Ulbricht, now 40, who was imprisoned for life in 2015, is a hero of the US libertarian movement.

The Libertarian Party, with its long-standing advocacy for drug legalization and criminal justice reform, has consistently lobbied for Ulbricht’s release, viewing his life sentence as a symbol of government overreach.

Ulbricht became interested in libertarian values at university, according to a Wired report, where he discovered the ideas of Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, an advocate of the moral purpose of free-market capitalism and staunch opponent of interventionism. Ulbricht embraced these ideas of uncompromised freedom, per Wired.

“When I created Silk Road, I wasn’t seeking financial gain,” Ulbricht’s wrote in a heartfelt letter to the trial judge in 2015.

“I created Silk Road because I believed at the time that people should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted so long as they weren’t hurting anyone else,” he wrote.

In 2015, he was given life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was also fined $183,961,921.

Ulbricht is being held at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson.

The majority of goods sold on Silk Road were illegal hardcore drugs, said the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York at his trial.

“Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness,” wrote Ulbricht. “While I still don’t think people should be denied this right, I never sought to create a site that would provide another avenue for people to feed their addictions.”

Members of the Libertarian Party stand in chairs while chanting and demanding the release of Ross Ulbricht during the party's national conventionMembers of the Libertarian Party stand in chairs while chanting and demanding the release of Ross Ulbricht during the party's national convention

Members of the Libertarian Party stand in chairs while chanting and demanding the release of Ross Ulbricht during the party’s national convention at the Washington Hilton on May 25, 2024 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump, who was loudly booed and heckled during much of his speech at the Libertarian National Convention, did manage to partially win the audience around by committing to free Ulbricht.

Katherine Yeniscavich, a Libertarian Party national committee member, told Politico, “It’s one of the things we wanted from his first term.”

In addition to the Ulbricht pledge, Trump made further pledges, promising to include a Libertarian in his cabinet and others in senior administrative positions if elected.

Correction: May 30, 2024 — Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story called Ross Ulbricht “unjustly imprisoned” without making clear it was characterizing the view of his supporters.

Read the original article on Business Insider



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top