NEW YORK—After the lunch break Thursday in the Silk Road trial, defendant Ross Ulbricht took off his jacket. Minutes later, his lawyer Joshua Dratel took off the gloves.
In just over an hour of staccato cross examination, Dratel’s strategy became clear: he was going to pursue a line of questioning suggesting that the man who really controlled Silk Road wasn’t his young client, but Mark Karpeles, the wealthy former owner of the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange.
If Karpeles could use Silk Road, a free-wheeling drug market, to jack up the price of bitcoin, he could become incredibly rich. It was a currency he had more invested in than anyone else. Until it was shut down, the great majority of bitcoin trades went through his Mt. Gox currency exchange.
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