Sam Bankman-Fried Stares Jail Time as DOJ Piles Pressure on Court

Lavina Daryanani
Source: Timesnext

The U.S. Department of Justice has requested Judge Lewis Kaplan to revoke FTX Founder, Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail. The government agency also contended that he should “be detained pending trial.” In the latest filing, DOJ attorneys argued that Bankman-Fried did not deny that he shared former Alameda Research CEO, Caroline Ellison’s diary with the New York Times. It pointed towards the defendant’s “escalating evasions,” they said.

As reported recently, the New York Times published an article featuring excerpts from Ellison’s diary. After the article went live, prosecutors blamed Bankman-Fried for providing quotes from the diary to the media house. They also accused him of talking to the reporter who wrote the story. Furthermore, the FTX founder’s lawyers contended sending Bankman-Fried to jail because he talked to a reporter will raise “serious” First Amendment issues, violating his “free speech right.”

Also Read: Sam Bankman-Fried: Being Sent to Jail Violates ‘Free Speech Right’

Bankman-Fried Tried to “Intimidate, Harass, Embarrass” Ellison: DOJ Attorneys

In the latest filing, DOJ attorneys said,

“The record here establishes that the defendant went beyond benignly exercising a constitutional right to speak to the press—he took covert steps intended to improperly discredit a trial witness and taint the jury pool.”

The prosecutors pointed out that Ellison, who has pleaded guilty, is the defendant’s former girlfriend, and will be “an important witness” at the trial. Contrarily, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argue that the FTX founder’s recent efforts to discredit her are “insignificant.” Accusing Bankman-Fried of witness tampering, the latest filing noted,

“But that media atmosphere appears to be in part a product of the defendant’s own creation and of his sustained effort to focus the media on Ellison’s personal life and private writings.”

The NYT’s article title was “Inside the Private Writings of Caroline Ellison.” Prosecutors pointed out that if Bankman-Fried had not leaked the private documents, there would not have even been a story. The FTX Founder did not give his “comment” or share his “perspective” on information or accusations. Instead, he shared materials with the press “obviously designed to intimidate, harass, and embarrass” Ellison. This was done to “provoke an emotional response in potential jurors and color a potential juror’s view of that witness,” the attorneys said. Judge Kaplan might schedule another hearing to discuss the filings regarding this matter.

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