In a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) sought the revocation of Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) bail, accusing him of attempting to tamper with witnesses, including leaking his ex-girlfriend’s diary entries to the New York Times (NYT). These actions, connected to the FTX case, have raised concerns about witness interference.
In the letter dated July 28, the DOJ noted that SBF was released on a bond on December 22, 2022, but later requested multiple bail modifications. The letter revealed that on January 15, 2023, the defendant reached out to the current General Counsel of FTX U.S., who could potentially serve as a witness in the trial.
According to allegations, SBF purportedly reached out to the FTX U.S. lawyer through the encrypted messaging application Signal and email. In the communication, SBF expressed a desire to reconnect and explore the possibility of establishing a constructive relationship. He inquired about the potential of using each other as resources or providing mutual input on various matters.
As per the DOJ’s findings, SBF allegedly employed Signal for obstructive purposes and the auto-deletion feature of messages from communication channels has complicated the investigation. The court expressed concerns regarding the potential risk of witness tampering in light of the defendant’s behavior.
According to John Reed Stark, Former Chief of the SEC Office of Internet Enforcement, Judge Kaplan has several options. He could view SBF’s actions as an effort to improperly influence witnesses and choose to either make further modifications to his bail conditions or even revoke his bail entirely.
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He argued that Judge Kaplan will face a tough decision in this case. If SBF is permitted to stay free, the judge will undoubtedly reiterate his previous warnings.
The written submission comes after a Wednesday hearing in a Manhattan federal court, during which prosecutor Danielle Sassoon stated that no set of release conditions can guarantee the safety of the community.
One week prior, the DoJ leveled accusations against Bankman-Friend for leaking Ellison’s personal diary. During the court session, Sassoon informed the judge that Bankman-Friend attempted to “intimidate” Ellison and made around 100 calls to the NYT reporter.
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