Trump Announces He Will Commute Sentence of Silk Road Founder on ‘Day One’

Trump Announces He Will Commute Sentence of Silk Road Founder on ‘Day One’
Former President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to address the Libertarian National Convention in Washington on May 25, 2024. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday told a Libertarian Party event that he will commute the founder of the infamous Silk Road online marketplace during his first day in office.

“And if you vote for me, on day one, I will commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht,” the former president said, referring to the creator of the dark web website that was used to facilitate the sale of illegal narcotics. That generated an applause from the audience. “He’s already served 11 years … we’re gonna get him home,” he added.

His comment drew cheers from the crowd. Mr. Ulbricht is currently serving life in prison for creating and operating the Silk Road site between 2011 and 2013, which facilitated the sale of illegal drugs and other services before the FBI targeted him.

The Silk Road was ultimately taken down by the FBI in 2013, and Mr. Ulbricht was convicted in 2015 of continuing criminal enterprise, distributing narcotics, distributing narcotics by means of the internet, conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to traffic fraudulent identity documents, and more charges. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

“It’s time to be winners,” said former President Trump, adding: “I’m asking for the Libertarian Party’s endorsement, or at least lots of your votes.”

At times during his speech, the former president noted that Libertarian presidential candidates only generate small figures during elections. “You can keep going the way you have for the last long decades and get your 3 percent and meet again, get another 3 percent,” he said.

Then-2020 Libertarian Party nominee, Jo Jorgensen, received about 1 percent of the votes in multiple swing states, including in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Before that, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won about 3 percent of the national vote in 2016.

Although it’s a small figure, those voters could have the capacity to swing elections in battleground states in favor of his Democratic opponent, President Joe Biden. Libertarians will pick their White House nominee during their convention, which wraps on Sunday. The former president’s appearance at the convention also gave him a chance to court voters who might otherwise support independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who gave his own Libertarian convention speech on Friday.

Despite the raucous atmosphere, former President Trump continued to press on with his speech, saying he’d come “to extend a hand of friendship” in common opposition to President Biden. That prompted a chant of “We want Trump!” from his supporters, but there were also cries of “End the Fed,” which is a common refrain from Libertarians who oppose the Federal Reserve.

The reference to Mr. Ulbricht was designed to energize Libertarian activists who believe government investigators overreached in building their case against Silk Road, and who generally oppose criminal drug policies more broadly. Mr. Ulbricht’s case was much-discussed during the Libertarian convention, and many of the hundreds in the crowd for former President Trump’s speech hoisted “Free Ross” signs and chanted the phrase as he spoke.

It comes several days after former President Trump held a rally at another unexpected place: the South Bronx in New York City, a heavily Democratic area.

“New Yorkers have something called common sense … and old fashioned common sense is exactly what I plan to bring back to the White House,” the former president said at the event, adding, “We are going to make life in New York affordable again.”

Former President Trump called several speakers to the stage, including Republican Rep. Byron Donalds  (R-Fla.) and the Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., a former Democratic city council member in New York and state senator.

“The strategy is to demonstrate to the voters of the Bronx and New York that this isn’t your typical presidential election, that Donald Trump is here to represent everybody and get our country back on track,” Mr. Donalds, who grew up in Brooklyn, told media outlets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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