The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has accused former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried of leaking the private diary of ex-Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison to the New York Times.
“The defendant’s actions—sharing personal writings of Caroline Ellison’s with a New York Times reporter—implicate the core concern of Rule 23.1 that disseminating material related to the “testimony or credibility of prospective witnesses” presumptively involves a substantial likelihood or prejudice to a fair trial and the due administration of justice," the U.S. Attorneys wrote.
Rule 23.1(a) forbids lawyers and their agents from releasing non-public information about a case if it is likely to interfere with a fair trial.
The attorneys argue that an order restricting extrajudicial statements is necessary due to the intense media attention this case has received and the defendant's attempt to manipulate media coverage to his advantage.
They also say that the defendant's actions may taint the jury pool and constitute harassment of Ellison. They are also concerned that this would deter other potential trial witnesses from testifying due to fear of public humiliation and personal discrediting.
This request comes as FTX’s interim leadership has filed a separate civil case against Bankman-Fried, Ellison, and other executives seeking to recover cash and reverse transactions that are collectively worth over $1 billion.
Among the allegations in the lawsuit are that Bankman-Fried diverted $10 million of FTX.US funds to his personal account, his brother Gabriel planned to buy the island nation of Nauru with foundation funds, and over $100 million was donated politically using mixed company-customer funds.
Ellison, according to the suit, gave herself a $22.5 million bonus during a major FTX cash crisis.
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