Nathaniel Chastain claims rights were violated
In His Defense
The former OpenSea Product Manager Nathaniel Chastain has been accused of fraud while working with the company. The allegations state he was the front runner for a scheme which involved positing different NFTs to prominent positions in the marketplace.
Mr. Chastain has now begun making moves in his defense and wants to subpoena OpenSea. Chastain claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) violated his fourth and fifth amendment rights while they searched his home and wants the term “insider trading” to be stricken from the case.
The subpoena would be used to get documents from OpenSea to verify whether information used by Chastain to allegedly make money was actually the “property” of OpenSea or not. The wire fraud charge states that Chastain defrauded OpenSea when he took private information on what NFTs would be placed on the homepage and shared it.
Chastain requests that his subpoena include documents stating whether executives of the NFT trading platform were aware of his actions and plans. There are Slack messages between Chastain and other employees, documents or communications mentioning the confidentiality policies of OpenSea, documents or communications shared with the government, and any documents or communications mentioning Chastain by CEO Devin Finzer or co-founder Alex Atallah.
Chastain was charged earlier this year with wire fraud. The Justice Department alleged that he traded only in NFTs he knew would be listed on the home page in order to drive up the price and turn a profit. The term used was “insider trading” but Chastain argues that may not be correct.
Insider trading involves a violation involving securities and commodities- NFTs are not currently classified as either. The Department of Justice did not technically pursue charges based on insider trading but it does argue that the actions made by Chastain were effectively insider trading and thus uses that language in the filings.
Chastain wants the “insider trading” language removed from the indictment against him as he states the terminology is “unduly prejudiced and irrelevant to the crimes charged” as they are “not truly the charges against him.” He has made a request that the court deny the prosecution the ability to continue to use the terminology during trial. His filing has the following statement:
“The term’s presence in the Indictment—and any reference to it at a trial—serves no legitimate prosecutorial purpose and is simply a means for the government to increase media attention and inflame the jury in this first-of-its-kind case in the digital asset space,”
In addition to asking for the terminology to be thrown out Chastain is also asking for any evidence seized from his home to be thrown out of evidence. The argument he places is that the FBI violated his rights, specifically the fourth and fifth amendment rights against unreasonable search and self-incrimination respectively.
Chastain makes the claim the FBI executed a search warrant in his home and seized electronic devices. During the collection the agents took his cellphone and asked for the password, this is being called an “illegal interrogation
“ by Chastain’s lawyer. The lawyer claims the FBI failed in divulging whether there was any authority given to access his cellphone and failed to inform him of his rights, thus voiding all statements made and evidence collected from that time.
The case is ongoing and Chastain’s requests have yet to be addressed at this time.