Defense Accuses DOJ of Providing 'Inaccurate' Information Regarding Sam Bankman-Fried's Laptop Access
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried's legal team asserted in a memo released late Friday that prosecutors are overstating his level of access to defense materials.
Bankman-Fried still faces significant challenges in obtaining reliable internet access while being held in a cell block at the Southern District of New York courthouse. Moreover, he has not been granted anything close to the level of air-gapped computer access that the Department of Justice initially indicated he would receive, as stated in the letter signed by his defense attorney, Mark Cohen.
Bankman-Fried's legal team has actively sought his temporary release or increased computer access for the purpose of advancing his defense. They argue that his Sixth Amendment rights are currently being infringed upon. On the other hand, prosecutors contend that he has had access to defense materials since his bail was revoked a month ago due to concerns related to public safety.
Earlier this week, the DOJ submitted a statement indicating that Bankman-Fried had been granted access to several hard drives containing defense-related materials supplied by the defense team. Additionally, he has been provided with an air-gapped laptop on a daily basis and an internet-enabled laptop with a fresh battery courtesy of the defense attorneys.
As a response, the defense attorneys argued that the proposed plan is ineffective in practice, prompting Judge Lewis Kaplan to instruct Bankman-Fried's teams team to provide a detailed account of the specific inaccuracies they had identified.
Friday's letter provided a more elaborate account of these matters, explaining that Bankman-Fried could only upload a single document because of the sluggish internet speeds. This was despite him being brought to the courthouse on Wednesday and given access to a computer with internet connectivity.
"Effectively, Mr. Bankman-Fried had no access to the internet for the entire 5-hour period," the letter said. "... Despite the Government’s efforts, there does not appear to be a way to solve the internet access problem in the cellblock. That means that Mr. Bankman-Fried has no way to review and search documents the discovery database or the AWS database before trial. The defendant cannot prepare for trial with these kinds of limitations."
Bankman-Fried, according to Cohen, hasn't been granted the entirety of the time originally pledged by the prosecutors to utilize an air-gapped computer.
"Almost an entire month has passed since Mr. Bankman-Fried was remanded and we have lost that time to effectively prepare for trial," the letter said. "We therefore respectfully reiterate our request that the Court order Mr. Bankman-Fried’s temporary release."