Sam Bankman-Fried continues to play with fire while under house arrest.
- Judge Kaplan has alluded to the possibility of reversing SBF’s bail following attempts at witness tampering.
- Prosecutors requested stricter bail conditions and reduced access to electronic devices after finding loopholes in the current conditions.
- SBF’s defense team asked for leniency to build his case, and the judge hinted at a reversal of bail, proposing the input of a security expert.
Sam Bankman Fried, the former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is currently awaiting trial for charges of market manipulation and spoofing. He has been allowed to stay at his parent’s home until the trial, but this arrangement has caused concern among prosecutors and the court.
During a hearing on February 16th, Judge Lewis Kaplan expressed concern over SBF’s contact with current and former FTX employees, which he believed could constitute witness tampering. The judge stated that there was probable cause to believe that SBF had engaged in attempts to commit a federal felony while out on bail. As a result, the prosecution has requested stricter bail conditions, including reduced access to electronic devices, citing loopholes such as VPNs that SBF has used to circumvent his bail conditions.
Prosecutors believe that SBF tried to influence the testimony of a former FTX employee. They want the judge to introduce two new rules for SBF’s bail. The first rule prohibits him from contacting any current or former employees, and the second rule prevents him from using encrypted messaging applications. SBF’s attorney argued that the proposed restrictions would make it difficult for SBF to build a defense case they need access to FTX’s financial records, which would require internet access. While acknowledging the need for closer supervision, they have requested leniency from the court. However, the judge stated that the restrictions were necessary to ensure a fair trial.
The judge has proposed the input of a security expert who would work for the judge and be paid by the defense. The security expert would advise the judge on technical matters to work out a new solution for SBF’s bail conditions regarding electronic devices. However, the judge has also hinted at the possibility of reversing SBF’s bail, citing a violation of his bail conditions. While this suggestion holds no legal weight as of yet, it raises the possibility that SBF may be returned to custody pending his trial.
The consequences of SBF’s actions and the court’s response are significant. If his bail is revoked, he would be returned to custody until his trial in October, which could severely hamper his ability to build his defense case. Additionally, the allegations of witness tampering could have serious implications for his trial, which could result in significant fines and even imprisonment if he is found guilty.
Overall, the situation underscores the importance of complying with bail conditions and avoiding any actions that could be perceived as witness tampering or obstruction of justice. For SBF, the consequences of his actions could be severe, and it remains to be seen how the court will ultimately respond.