Last Updated on August 5, 2023 by Bitfinsider
On August 11, the federal judge presiding over Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial wants to hear additional arguments concerning perhaps revoking the failing crypto mogul’s bail.
Federal prosecutors want to revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail, which would mean he would be sent from house arrest with his parents in Palo Alto, Calif., to a jail in New York while awaiting the start of his criminal trial on Oct. 2.
After the New York Times published a story involving personal documents from former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, prosecutors accused the former FTX CEO of witness tampering. This Monday, US prosecutors urged a federal judge to lift Sam Bankman-Fried’s house detention and imprison him until his criminal trial begins on October 2.
On many occasions, the government has accused Bankman-Fried of interfering with witnesses in his criminal case, the most recent being speaking to the Times for their story of Ellison, who is also his ex-girlfriend. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a letter submitted late Aug. 3 to the court where Bankman-Fried’s trial would take place that Ellison will be “an important witness” in the trial and that Bankman-Fried is attempting to discredit her.
Responding to assertions made by the FTX owner’s defence counsel that Ellison was already the topic of media coverage, Williams alleges that Bankman-Fried assisted in putting her in the spotlight as part of his “sustained effort to focus the media on Ellison’s personal life and private writings.”
Bankman-Fried’s counsel contended that a New York Times reporter was already working on the article centred on Ellison’s writings, which sparked the latest legal wrangle over whether the criminally-indicted former crypto billionaire could remain under house arrest until his October trial.
Bankman-Fried, according to Williams, “shared materials with the press obviously designed to intimidate, harass, and embarrass someone he knows is slated to testify against him, as well as to provoke an emotional response in potential jurors and colour a potential juror’s view of that witness.”
Prosecutors sought to end Bankman-Fried’s home arrest with his parents following last week’s Times piece regarding Ellison’s writings. The U.S. district court judge hearing over the lawsuit, Judge Lewis Kaplan, granted a temporary gag order on Bankman-Fried and others involved in the case, which the New York Times and other media organisations are currently appealing.
Due to the claims of witness tampering, Williams continued to encourage Kaplan to imprison Bankman-Fried and shut him off from press contact prior to trial. However, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers, the New York Times, and renowned Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe argued to Kaplan this week that presenting his argument in the press was part of his constitutional right to free speech.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys wrote in an Aug. 1 filing presenting an affidavit from Tribe that “criminal defendants have a right to talk to the press about their case to influence their public image and try to protect their reputation, as long as the communications are not calculated to pervert the course of justice.”
The judge, Kaplan, imposed a temporary gag order on Bankman-Fried, lawyers, and others engaged in the case until he decides whether to imprison Bankman-Fried prior to the trial.
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