Friday, March 17, 2017

Corrupt Secret Service Agent Has a Frivolous Appeal, Says His Lawyer

Shaun Bridges, the corrupt Secret Service agent involved in the Silk Road case, may be losing his third lawyer as his situation grows bleaker. His current lawyer claims the latest appeal by Bridges is frivolous and wishes to withdraw herself from the case.

Bridges was sentenced to serve 6 years in a federal prison in December 2015 after pleading guilty to stealing bitcoin from vendors during the Silk Road investigation. At the time of his arrest, the stolen bitcoin were worth over $800,000. After a Silk Road admin, Curtis Green, was arrested in 2013 the Secret Service agent used Green’s credentials to lock vendors out of their accounts. He was able to transfer their bitcoin to his own bitcoin address.

His appeal process started in December after his sentencing and he’s already lost two lawyers. It seems that he may be about to lose his current lawyer, Davina Pujari.

On the 5th of August, Pujari wrote in a filing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

“After having carefully examined this record and after having researched the relevant statutes and case law, counsel has concluded that this appeal presents only legally frivolous issues. Therefore, counsel requests the Court’s permission to withdraw as attorney of record and to allow Appellant to file any further briefs he deems necessary.”

Her filing highlights that Bridges appeal relies on Green’s testimony and that he was a surprise victim and since Green had not been sworn in, his testimony should be invalidated.

“Counsel for Bridges objected to Mr. Green’s testimony as a surprise victim, noting that it was the first time these claims had been made, that they were not part of the plea agreement, and the accuracy of the claims was questionable. (E.R. pp. 52:21-53:6.) In applying a 2-level enhancement for sophisticated means, the district court noted that “one of the most significant factors” was Mr. Green’s testimony and that Bridges’ alleged actions could have gotten Mr. Green killed.”

According to ars technica, Pujari would not respond to requests for comments regarding the matter. The full filing is available here.

Bridges was not the only corrupt federal agent involved in the case against Ross Ulbricht & the Silk Road. Carl Force, a former DEA agent who worked on the case, is serving 6 years for extorting bitcoin from Ulbricht. Force would post on the Silk Road offering insider information on the fed’s investigation in exchange for bitcoins. Although no information was ever delivered that we know of, Force was able to extort money from Ulbricht twice in the same fashion.

The filing by Pujari makes no mention of the recent discovery that Bridges may have stolen an additional $700,000 worth of bitcoins. Lyn Ulbricht speaks on that here.