In his final weeks in office before Joe Biden’s inauguration, President Donald Trump is weighing granting clemency to Ross Ulbricht, the founder and former administrator of the world’s most famous darknet drug market, Silk Road, The Daily Beast has learned.
According to three people familiar with the matter, the White House counsel’s office has had documents related to Ulbricht’s case under review, and Trump was recently made aware of the situation and the pleas of the Silk Road founder’s allies. Two of these sources say the president has at times privately expressed some sympathy for Ulbricht’s situation and has been considering his name, among others, for his next round of commutations and pardons before the Jan. 20 inauguration of his 2020 Democratic opponent.
It is unclear if Trump has arrived at a final decision yet, but Ulbricht has gained some influential backers in the president’s political and social orbit. Behind the scenes, he has the support of some presidential advisers, as well as criminal justice reform advocates with close ties to the administration and Trump family, including Alice Johnson, according to people with knowledge of the matter.