Defense Accuses DOJ of Providing 'Inaccurate' Information Regarding Sam Bankman-Fried's Laptop Access

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  • A judge has rescinded FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried's bail on Friday, leading to his incarceration prior to his trial scheduled for October.
  • Bankman-Fried is confronted with a total of seven distinct accusations linked to the downfall of FTX, encompassing charges of wire fraud, commodities fraud, and securities fraud.


NEW YORK - FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been incarcerated prior to his October trial, facing several charges related to financial crimes. This comes after a federal judge revoked his bond release on a Friday afternoon, asserting that the former cryptocurrency magnate seemed to have attempted to interfere with witnesses.

Bankman-Fried is willing "to risk crossing the line in an effort to get right up to [the line], wherever it is," said Judge Lewis Kaplan, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, later concluding: "All things considered I'm going to revoke bail."

He added: "My conclusion is there is probable cause to believe the defendant has attempted to tamper with witnesses at least twice. … There is a rebuttable presumption that there is no set of conditions that will ensure Bankman-Fried will not be a danger."

Barbara Fried and Joseph Bankman, parents of Bankman-Fried, were in attendance during the court proceedings. Following the judge's decision, tears welled up silently in Fried's eyes.

Sam Bankman-Fried's parents walking out of the court on Aug 11, 2023.


Bankman-Fried, the 31-year-old ex-CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, made an appearance in court last Friday following actions taken by the U.S. Department of Justice to return him to custody. He faced allegations of breaching the terms of his bail by attempting to interfere with multiple witnesses. The Department of Justice asserted that Bankman-Fried's communication with Ryne Miller, the former general counsel of FTX.US, and his use of a virtual private network (VPN) - which his defense team explained was for streaming the Super Bowl - necessitated a revision of his bail conditions. The situation escalated when Bankman-Fried shared excerpts from the private journal of Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, with the New York Times.

In a comprehensive oral decision, Judge Kaplan referred to both endeavors made to reach out to former FTX staff members.

Although the utilization of a VPN alone might not carry excessive weight, it does reflect Bankman-Fried's thought process, as per his statement.

Bankman-Fried's legal team acknowledged that he had indeed shared certain diary pages with the Times. However, his attorneys contested any suggestion that he was attempting to interfere with a witness.

“Here we have a very thin record with a lot of spin,” his lawyer told the judge.

Furthermore, the defense team put forth the contention that incarcerating Bankman-Fried would create additional challenges in the process of readying for his trial.

Judge Kaplan remained unconvinced by these arguments, stating: "I don't think that the revocation is quite the insurmountable problem."

In the court session, Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Sassoon contended that holding Bankman-Fried in custody was additionally justified due to his growing frequency of visits to New York for pre-trial conferences and trial preparation.

“He’s effectively unsupervised while he’s here,” she said.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) possessed alternative strategies in the event that the judge declined the immediate detention of Bankman-Fried. The government would have been amenable to the notion of home confinement, imposing restrictions on visitors and internet access, with the exception of two essential databases required for trial preparation.

This might have entailed the restriction of Google Drive access, as mentioned by Sassoon. He pointed out that Ellison's journal was among the files on Drive that Bankman-Fried could reach.

Mark Cohen, the lawyer representing Bankman-Fried, attempted to contend that there existed an inadequate legal foundation for his pre-trial detention. He argued that the criteria established by previous legal cases had not been satisfied.

“The only reason we know about [Bankman-Fried meeting with a Times reporter] is because he was complying with his bail conditions,” Cohen said.

Sassoon, the prosecutor, disagreed.

“I think the fact the defendant was more subtle in his methods than a mobster doesn’t mean it was benign,” she said.

Bankman-Fried is scheduled to stand trial at the beginning of October for charges including wire fraud, commodities fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, and related conspiracy. Additionally, he is expected to face another trial in March of next year for further charges brought by the Department of Justice subsequent to his arrest and extradition.

Both the prosecution and the defense are required to submit specific pretrial motions to the court before Monday, August 14th.

Lawyers from both the defense and the prosecution affirmed their readiness to meet the deadlines set for the upcoming week.

Bankman-Fried's legal team announced their intention to challenge the ruling and filed a request to temporarily halt the bail revocation until the appeal could be reviewed. However, the judge turned down the request for a temporary halt.

Bankman-Fried's pre-trial detention doesn't imply an automatic imprisonment following the trial. For that to happen, he must be proven guilty of at least one of the charges pressed against him, and subsequently sentenced to prison.