Sam Bankman-Fried to Hire a Tech Expert to Advise Court on Bail Terms

  • SBF’s defense is already looking into, and contacting possible independent technical experts to advise the court on his bail terms.
  • The proposal for a technical advisor was made last week, when prosecutors asked for tighter bail conditions due to SBF’s use of VPN and encrypted messaging apps.

Former CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the Federal Court in New York after pleading not guilty, 3 January, 2022.
lev radin/Shutterstock

Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorneys have agreed to pay for an independent technical expert to advise the court on his bail terms after prosecutors asked for tighter bail terms, court documents from 21 February have shown.

According to the letter sent to Judge Lewis Kaplan, SBF’s defense has already started researching and contacting possible tech experts, and is expecting to propose “one or more potential candidates” by the end of the week. Last week, Judge Kaplan proposed that SBF brings in a technical expert after it was discovered that the former CEO of FTX had been using the internet through a virtual private network (VPN). The letter from Tuesday reads:

“The defense agrees to the appointment of such an expert at the defense’s expense and the Government has no objection. The defense has already begun researching and contacting possible experts and anticipates being able to propose one or more potential candidates to the Court by the end of the week.”

The technical expert will potentially help the court navigate modern encryption technology issues, such as encrypted messaging and privacy-focused messaging apps, as well as SBF’s use of VPNs. The former CEO’s bail terms have been a topic in the court for weeks now, after prosecutors accused him of contacting a potential witness on Signal, and using a VPN to hide his internet use.

Judge Kaplan had temporarily banned Bankman-Fried from using encrypted apps and VPN earlier this month until his bail conditions were settled. At a hearing last week, however, Judge Kaplan proposed a tightening of SBF’s bail conditions after it was discovered he had been accessing the internet using VPN to watch the Super Bowl and other NFL games.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial is is expected to begin in October before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The individual was arrested in the Bahamas on 12 December, and later extradited to the U.S. where he was released under a $250 million bail bond.

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