Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX crypto exchange, has requested temporary release from custody before his trial in October. His legal team is seeking this temporary release to allow him to continue working on his company’s operations. Bankman-Fried is facing charges related to securities violations and alleged market manipulation. This news is generating interest within the crypto community and among investors, as his trial could potentially have implications for the broader crypto industry.
Defense Team of Sam Bankman-Fried Raises Concerns Over Trial Preparations
The trial date for Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced crypto founder, is fast approaching, and his defense team has expressed new concerns regarding the challenging conditions under which he is preparing his defense. In a motion submitted last Friday, the defense team advocates for Bankman-Fried’s temporary release or, at the very least, a setup that allows him to meet with his attorneys five days a week.
According to the motion, Bankman-Fried’s defense team emphasizes his need to access essential online documents, as he is the only one with complete knowledge of the companies and facts in question. They argue that there is no substitute for his work on the defense.
Prior to his bail being revoked, Bankman-Fried dedicated between 80-100 hours weekly to meticulously reviewing the discovery and updating detailed analyses to collaborate with his attorneys. However, Judge Lewis Kaplan’s current directives limit Bankman-Fried to only six hours of laptop usage per day for two days a week at the courthouse.
Bankman-Fried’s Technical Limitations Hinder Defense
Bankman-Fried’s legal team requested his temporary release from prison to aid in the discovery process, citing several technical limitations. These include restricted battery life, the absence of a power outlet for charging in the cell block, and a frail internet connection that was down during a significant portion of the two sessions. Additionally, Bankman-Fried stated his inability to access his Google Docs, where he had stored prior defense-related work.
The defense team also expressed criticism regarding the government’s last-minute release of over 4 million pages of documents from Bankman-Fried’s Google accounts. They argue that even if he had unlimited review time while out on bail, completing a review before the trial would be unattainable.
To address these concerns, the defense team proposes that Bankman-Fried be allowed to use an internet-enabled computer under the supervision of his defense counsel for document scrutiny and collaboration. They assure the court of overseeing the entire process and ensuring the security of the laptop after each session.
The judge has instructed the prosecutors to respond to the defense’s letter, along with an earlier letter outlining one of Bankman-Fried’s defense strategies. A virtual hearing is scheduled to discuss the discovery issues further.
Pending Trials and Bankman-Fried’s Plea
Bankman-Fried is facing seven distinct charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and commodities fraud in his upcoming trial, which is set to begin in early October. He will also defend himself against six more charges in a subsequent trial scheduled for March 11, 2024.
The disgraced FTX CEO intends to plead not guilty to all thirteen charges.
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