Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is requesting permission to be allowed to leave the Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York, five days a week to meet with the members of his defence team at the federal courthouse in Manhattan. While Bankman-Fried wants to see his lawyers, he also requests access to a laptop with the internet and daily meetings with his attorneys at the courthouse. Asserting that Bankman-Fried attempted to intimidate a crucial witness in his fraud case, prosecutors have requested a judge to withdraw Bankman-Fried’s bail. His attorneys maintain that he shouldn’t be imprisoned for attempting to defend his name from a flood of unfavourable news headlines.
Sam Bankman-Fried, a disgraced crypto tycoon, is requesting permission to leave the Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York, five days a week so that he can meet with his defence team at the federal courts in Manhattan. To this end, Bankman-Fried wants to see his lawyers as soon as possible, the reports suggest.
Sam Bankman-Fried is charged with stealing billions of dollars worth of FTX customers’ money. He is accused of using the stolen funds to support his hedge fund Alameda Research, purchase pricey real estate, and give to political causes. He entered a not-guilty plea. He will face seven fraud and conspiracy charges in an amended indictment when he is arraigned the following week. His arrest, trial and detention were all highly sensationalized and publicized, with many touting it as an incredible fall for a man who, prosecutors posit, portrayed himself as “a saviour of the cryptocurrency industry” as he testified before Congress and hired celebrities, including Larry David, Tom Brady and Stephen Curry to advertise his businesses.
The 31-year-old founder and former CEO of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX was imprisoned at the MDC on suspicion of witness tampering just days before the start of his trial, which is set to begin on October 2, according to reports from Bloomberg and Reuters.
The former millionaire had been under house arrest at his parents’ California home on a $250 million bond which was revoked soon after a warrant against him for arrest was created. He was detained in the Bahamas and extradited to the U.S. roughly a month after FTX filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-November.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys were taken aback two weeks ago when prosecutors demanded that he be imprisoned because he had broken the law by divulging to The New York Times the private writings of Caroline Ellison, his ex-girlfriend and the former CEO of Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency trading hedge fund that was one of his companies.
The circumstances under which SBF is supposed to prepare for his trial were deemed “entirely inadequate” by his attorneys in a letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. They claimed that allowing him to review the substantial amount of evidence only two days a week violated his right to competent representation and noted that he lacks a dedicated computer or other means of sharing files with them online.
The MDC’s computers could be used by Bankman-Fried to access the papers that federal prosecutors had promised to place on hard drives. However, while Bankman-Fried wants to see his lawyers, the government claims that loading all the documents onto an internet-connected laptop is not practical. The prosecution also maintained that SBF had been given “extraordinary accommodations” at the Brooklyn jail in a letter to Kaplan.