Sam Bankman Fried, a FTX cryptocurrency executive indicted, was opposed to their client’s ban from communicating with ex-colleagues as part of his bail. Prosecutors “manipulated” Saturday’s proceedings to paint their client in the worst possible light. Prosecutors asked that Bankman-Fried be barred from speaking with employees of FTX and his Alameda Research hedge funds without the presence of lawyers. They also prohibited him from using encrypted messaging apps such as Signal or Slack.
Bankman-Fried faces fraud charges in connection with the looting billions of dollars from the now-defunct FTX. The bond was set at $250 million. The request was made by the prosecution in response to Bankman Fried’s attempt at contacting a potential witness, which was the general counsel for an FTX affiliate. This was done to prevent witness tampering, and other violations to justice.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers, however, argued in a letter addressed to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan at Manhattan that the bail conditions are “overbroad” and that the parties had been negotiating terms of bail for the past week. Lawyers explained that the government had filed the request Friday night, rather than waiting for the defense to respond.
They stated that Bankman-Fried had attempted to contact John Ray and the general attorney to provide assistance, but not interfere. They suggested Bankman-Fried should have access to other colleagues, except Caroline Ellison, Zixiao “Gary”, Wang who have pleaded guilty and are cooperating.
The lawyers argued that the ban on Signal was unnecessary because Bankman-Fried wasn’t using the auto-delete function and any concerns that he may have were “unfounded.” They also requested that the bail condition that prevented Bankman-Fried accessing FTX or Alameda cryptocurrency assets be removed, because there was no evidence of him being involved in any unauthorized transactions.
Prosecutors were given until Monday by Judge Kaplan to respond to Bankman Fried’s concerns.