FTX founder Bankman-Fried objects to tighter bail, says prosecutors 'sandbagged' him

FTX founder Bankman-Fried objects to tighter bail, says prosecutors ‘sandbagged’ him

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried on Saturday urged a U.S. choose not to ban the indicted FTX cryptocurrency government from speaking with former colleagues as a part of his bail, saying prosecutors “sandbagged” the method to put their shopper within the “worst potential gentle.”

The legal professionals have been responding to a Friday night time request by federal prosecutors that Bankman-Fried not be allowed to discuss with most staff of FTX or his Alameda Research hedge fund with out legal professionals current, or use the encrypted messaging apps Signal or Slack and doubtlessly delete messages mechanically.

Bankman-Fried, 30, has been free on $250 million bond since pleading not responsible to prices of fraud within the looting of billions of {dollars} from the now-bankrupt FTX.

Prosecutors mentioned their request was in response to Bankman-Fried’s latest effort to contact a possible witness in opposition to him, the overall counsel of an FTX affiliate, and was wanted to stop witness tampering and different obstruction of justice.

But in a letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals mentioned prosecutors sprung the “overbroad” bail circumstances with out revealing that each side had been discussing bail over the past week.

“Rather than look ahead to any response from the protection, the federal government sandbagged the method, submitting this letter at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night,” Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals wrote. “The authorities apparently believes {that a} one-sided presentation – spun to put our shopper within the worst potential gentle – is the easiest way to get the result it seeks.”

Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals additionally mentioned their shopper’s efforts to contact the overall counsel and John Ray, put in as FTX’s chief government in the course of the chapter, have been makes an attempt to supply “help” and never to intervene.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan declined to remark.

Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals proposed that their shopper have entry to some colleagues, together with his therapist, however not be allowed to discuss with Caroline Ellison and Zixiao “Gary” Wang, who’ve pleaded responsible and are cooperating with prosecutors.

They mentioned a Signal ban is not needed as a result of Bankman-Fried will not be utilizing the auto-delete function, and concern he would possibly is “unfounded.”

The legal professionals additionally requested to take away a bail situation stopping Bankman-Fried from accessing FTX, Alameda or cryptocurrency property, saying there was “no proof” he was answerable for earlier alleged unauthorized transactions.

In an order on Saturday, Kaplan gave prosecutors till Monday to handle Bankman-Fried’s issues.

“The courtroom expects all counsel to abstain from pejorative characterizations of the actions and motives of their adversaries,” the choose added.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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