Presidential hopeful Robert F Kennedy Jr has indicated that he will likely review the criminal case of Ross Ulbricht, the founder of online drug marketplace Silk Road.
Speaking during an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Kennedy expressed his intent to review the case to see if Ulbricht had been justly convicted or if he had simply been made an example of in order to discourage the crypto industry.
Ulbricht is currently serving a double life sentence for his role in creating the Silk Road marketplace, where users could purchase illicit substances with Bitcoin.
The trial itself attracted massive controversy, including accusations made against Ulbricht that he had planned a murder-for-hire on six people. These accusations were presented during Ulbricht’s bail hearing, but never made it to the official indictment.
One of the supposed targets, an administrator of the Silk Road, Curtis Green has denied being targeted.
The disparity in sentencing between Ulbricht and other defendants in the Silk Road case was also a point of contention. Another founder got 3 years in prison, while a co-owner of the website received no sentence. Aside from Ulbricht, the harshest sentence was meted out to Jan Slomp, the top drug seller on the platform.
Some libertarians maintain that Ulbricht was given such a harsh sentence because by creating the Silk Road, he proved the potential of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and put his life on the line to make the libertarian case that individuals should be able to decide who to interact with and what to buy.
On Monday, Ulbricht marked the end of a decade in prison.
Since his arrest, the US government has managed to seize a fund of more than 50 thousand Bitcoin, which had been stolen from Silk Road in 2013. The funds were used to pay off Ulbricht’s legal debts, and the remaining is in the custody of the US Department of Justice.
Ulbricht’s family has also raised money for efforts to free him via FreeRossDAO and through NFT sales.
RFK Jr has been a vocal proponent of the cryptocurrency industry and a critic of US government policy in the industry.
He has previously expressed concerns about government attacks on crypto, and indicated support for a plan to back US Treasury bills with assets such as Bitcoin.
While he currently identifies as a Democrat, his support for Bitcoin and crypto is at odds with several other prominent Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren.
RFK Jr has also criticised the way that Democratic primaries are run, saying that the Democratic National Convention is not supposed to favour one candidate over another. These comments came after his candidacy was dismissed by President Biden and several others at the Convention.
In recent months, Kennedy’s popularity within Republicans has grown as well, and David Sacks, a donor for Republican candidate Ron DeSantis, hosted a fund-raiser for Kennedy in June.
Kennedy has also indicated that he may abandon the Democratic Party and run as a third-party candidate in the coming elections.
Aside from Ulbricht, Kennedy has also promised to grant amnesty to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, and whistleblower Edward Snowden, both of whom are accused of leaking classified and sensitive information about the US.