U.S. District Court Hears Sam Bankman-Fried
According to documents filed with the court on January 28, the legal team representing Sam Bankman-Fried is requesting the removal of a bail restriction that banned him from accessing FTX's finances.
Bankman-attorney, Fried's Mark Cohen, sent a letter to the judge of the United States District Court, Lewis Kaplan, stating that his client should be allowed access to the funds held by FTX since he claims that Bankman-Fried was not engaged in any prior improper activities.
Bankman-Fried was "prohibited from accessing or transferring any FTX or Alameda assets or cryptocurrency, including assets or cryptocurrency purchased with funds from FTX or Alameda," as stated in the letter that was sent to Judge Kaplan. This was the request that was made by U.S. authorities during the first court hearing that took place on January 3. Prosecutors admitted at the time that there was no proof that Mr. Bankman-Fried had moved monies, and they also said that a federal investigation was now taking place.
According to the letter, "nearly three weeks have passed since the initial pretrial conference, and we assume that the Government's investigation has confirmed what Mr. Bankman-Fried has said all along; namely, that he did not access and transfer these assets." Additionally, the letter states that the defence notified the authorities "as soon as we became aware of the transfers to provide notification."
In addition, the attorneys stated that "given that the primary justification offered for seeking that condition has not been supported, we think that the bail condition imposed at the conference should be withdrawn" (given that the sole basis advanced for seeking that condition has not been supported).
In addition, the letter responds to a request made by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on January 27 to prohibit Bankman-Fried from communicating with "current or former employees" of FTX or Alameda Research without the presence of his attorney. This request was made in an effort to prevent Bankman-Fried from interfering with an ongoing investigation.
The request from the prosecutor was made after it was reported that on January 15, Bankman-Fried attempted to "influence" the testimony of Ryne Miller, who is now serving as the General Counsel of FTX US. Miller was contacted through Signal and email.
Bankman-Fried should be allowed to have unrestricted communication with his father, therapist, and any employee or agent of a foreign regulator outside of the presence of counsel, as per Cohen's letter. According to the defence: "For instance, it would imply that Mr. Bankman-Fried would be unable to communicate with his therapist, who is a former employee of FTX, without the involvement of his attorneys in the conversation. There were around 350 people working for FTX and Alameda, as stated by publicly available sources. There is a possibility that each of these current and former workers have information that is essential to Mr. Bankman-defense. Fried's It would create an unwarranted burden on Mr. Bankman-resources Fried's and hinder his ability to defend himself in this matter if he were required to consult counsel in every correspondence with a former or present employee of FTX."
The filing for bankruptcy protection was made by FTX on November 11, the same day that Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO of the firm. He is now out on bond and staying at his family home in California as he faces eight allegations, the most serious of which are wire fraud and money laundering.