The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is pushing for the court to retract the bail granted to Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), founder of FTX. Prosecutors are urging that SBF, facing serious allegations, be returned to custody due to rising concerns about potential witness intimidation.
The DOJ’s recent written submission builds on its earlier plea, emphasizing that no bail conditions can ensure SBF’s compliance.
DOJ Raises Red Flags Over SBF’s Conduct
In the past, the prosecution had motioned for Sam Bankman-Fried to be incarcerated. This move followed shortly after allegations that SBF leaked the private journals of Caroline Ellison, his former partner, to the New York Times.
Ellison, who once headed the trading firm Alameda Research until FTX’s downfall, has become a key witness for the prosecution, conceding her involvement in the ill-fated crypto venture.
Backing their claims, the DOJ stated that SBF intended to intimidate Ellison through the leak. The recent court filing from July 28 aligns with this narrative. It accuses SBF of meeting a journalist, sharing documents, and making over a hundred calls to him.
The prosecution’s filing asserts:
“The defendant’s leaking of Ellison’s private writings is yet another instance of the defendant trying to intimidate and corruptly persuade Ellison with respect to her upcoming trial testimony. [This is] also an effort to influence or prevent the testimony of other potential trial witnesses by creating the specter that their most intimate business is at risk of being reported in the press.”
SBF’s Extensive Interactions with Media Under Scrutiny
While Sam Bankman-Fried maintains that he was merely responding to an inquiry from the New York Times, the DOJ has painted a more extensive picture of his media engagements.
According to them, SBF exchanged over a hundred emails and had conversations with media representatives, totaling over a thousand.
The submission also cites a previous incident in 2022 when SBF, using encrypted means like Signal and VPN, reached out to a potential witness, prompting changes to his bail terms.
Highlighting this pattern of behavior, the prosecution stated:
“[SBF’s actions] demonstrate that no set of pretrial release conditions can adequately assure the safety of the community and that the defendant is unlikely to fully abide by any conditions of release.”
Defense Team Pushes Back
SBF’s legal team has refuted the DOJ’s allegations. They argue that Sam Bankman-Fried’s actions were simply efforts to defend his reputation.
However, the DOJ was quick to counter, noting that while everyone has a right to a defense strategy, tarnishing someone’s public image and potentially skewing juror perceptions is not a legitimate manner to pursue it.
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