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The homepage to Silk Road 2.0, allegedly an underground drug market, is seen in a screenshot after it was closed by U.S. authorities November 6, 2014. U.S. authorities said Thursday they have shut down the successor website to Silk Road, an underground online drug marketplace, and charged its alleged operator with conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering and other crimes. REUTERS/Staff (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) - RTR4D53P
© Reuters Staff / Reuters—Reuters

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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