Former CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the Federal Court in New York after pleading not guilty, 3 January, 2022.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) attorneys have pushed back against a Department of Justice (DoJ) motion to revoke the former FTX CEO bail for attempting to intimidate witnesses, court documents from 1 August show.
According to the filing, the defense argued that SBF’s actions were not an attempt to intimidate a witness, and that the DoJ’s motion to remove his bail and detain him relied on an “extremely thin” factual basis, in addition to assumptions and innuendos. The lawyers further said the DoJ was “wrong” and that its version of events “mischaracterizes the facts and removes them from their proper context” in order to cast SBF’s actions and intentions in the “most negative light possible”.
Last week, the DoJ requested that SBF’s bail is revoked on the basis that he shared Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison’s diary with a New York Times reporter in order to harass and temper with her testimony as a potential witness in his criminal trial in October. The DoJ wrote in its motion request at the time:
“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, as well as 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 defence team pushed back by saying that his contact with the reported was not an attempt to taint the jury pool, and that it was a “proper exercise of his rights to make fair comment on an article already in progress. The lawyers also noted that the reporter was already writing an article that featured Ellison’s personal diaries and writings, and suggested that it was the government who first shared her diary with the press.
The lawyers further argued hat locking SBF in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn would deprive him of the ability to build a strong case by making it “impossible for him to fully participate in his defense”. They pointed out that the facility is currently in a “staffing crisis”, and that it does not permit inmates to have internet access, which would cut him off from key parts of the discovery process.