Federal prosecutors want Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail revoked
Prosecutors believe the disgraced CEO to be engaging in witness tampering and have recommended his imprisonment awaiting trial.
Earlier, prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried leaked the personal writings of Caroline Ellison to the New York Times. Ellison was formerly the CEO of FTX’s sister firm, Alameda Research, and was briefly in a relationship with Bankman-Fried.
Ellison is currently set to act as a witness at Bankman-Fried’s trial, and prosecutors accordingly argued that Bankman-Fried’s alleged information sharing constituted witness tampering. Those prosecutors initially pursued a gag order to prevent further disclosures. However, prosecutors now believe that no bail conditions can prevent Bankman-Fried from influencing witnesses and have demanded his imprisonment.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, stated that his client pleads not guilty and said that prosecutors told him of their incarceration request just moments before the latest hearing.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan has given both sides of the case several days to submit written arguments on the matter. The judge said that he is “very mindful” of both the government’s interests and Bankman-Fried’s First Amendment, or free speech, rights. He similarly urged Bankman-Fried to take the government’s request seriously.
Judge Kaplan previously suggested the possibility of incarcerating Bankman-Fried due to his repeated attempts to bypass constraints on his electronic communications, according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors and Bankman-Fried’s legal team largely agreed on communications restrictions in February; Bankman-Fried was believed to have contacted other individuals related to FTX around that time.
SBF’s October trial looms
Bankman-Fried is currently facing 13 charges, with his criminal trial scheduled to begin on Oct. 2, 2023. If convicted, the former FTX CEO could be sentenced to up to 115 years in prison.
The former FTX leader will remain on his $250 million bail in the months leading up to that date. Since his arrest and extradition from the Bahamas in December, Bankman-Fried has been under house arrest at his parent’s home in Palo Alto, California, and has been forced to abide by the communications restrictions described above.