Lawyers for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) requested Judge Lewis Kaplan release SBF 5 days a week, according to a letter reviewed by Bloomberg. The lawyers argued that SBF needs the time to work on his defense with his lawyers, which is difficult with his current imprisonment.
While he remains at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, SBF cannot properly review the documents related to his case, his lawyers argued in the Aug. 18 letter. As per Bloomberg, SBF’s lawyer Christian Everdell wrote:
“Just last week the government produced three-quarters of a million pages of Slack communications, which were supposed to be produced months ago, that Mr. Bankman-Fried will have no hope of reviewing under this schedule.”
Everdell emphasized that permitting Bankman-Fried to confer with his legal counsel and utilize an internet-enabled laptop at the courthouse would expedite proceedings.
SBF has pled not guilty to all charges of fraud. He faces a sentence of over 100 years for allegedly perpetrating a fraud scheme to misuse billions of dollars of FTX customer funds. His criminal trial is set to begin in October.
According to the Bloomberg report, prosecutors have proposed transferring case documents onto hard drives, which SBF can access via computers at his detention center. However, the government has cited impracticality in loading all the documents onto a laptop.
Initially, prosecutors had suggested transferring Bankman-Fried to a smaller facility upstate so he could access an internet-enabled laptop. Prison authorities, however, pushed back against the idea.
Prosecutors try to thwart SBF’s defense strategy
In a letter filed yesterday, prosecutors complained that Bankman-Fried had not turned over all pertinent information about his planned defense. SBF plans to use the defense that lawyers’ advice guided his actions; hence, he has no culpability.
However, the prosecutors argued that unless he turns over all necessary information on what advice he received and from whom, Bankman-Fried should not be allowed to use the defense at trial.
SBF’s request for relief comes a week after Judge Kaplan revoked his $250 million bail for allegedly attempting to tamper with witnesses on two occasions. SBF has denied the allegations.
The decision to revoke bail came soon after Bankman-Fried leaked former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison’s diary entries to The New York Times. The prosecutors pushed for bail revocation arguing that SBF leaked the diary to intimidate and harass a witness and dissuade them from testifying against him.
SBF was first accused of witness tampering in January 2023 for contacting the General Counsel for FTX US Ryne Miller over the messaging app Signal.
SBF violated his bail conditions several times, once by using a virtual private network. His bail conditions were modified five times before the bail was revoked.
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