Photograph by Reuters
By Benjamin Snyder
May 27, 2015

The convicted founder of Silk Road, the shuttered online black market, is pleading for a lighter sentence.

Ross Ulbricht’s plea came in a letter to the judge who is set to make a decision Friday. Ulbricht, 31 faces the possibility of life in prison. The letter is the first time Ulbricht has spoken out for himself, according to Business Insider. He did not testify during the trial.

“When I created Silk Road I wasn’t seeking financial gain,” he wrote in the letter.. “I created Silk Road because… I believed at the time that people should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted so long as they weren’t hurting anyone else.”

He’s hoping to receive the least amount of time in prison possible, 20 years; 97 of Ulbricht’s friends and family have written letters in his defense.

“Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness,” Ulbricht said in the letter.

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