Sam Bankman-Fried Can Use an 'Air-Gapped' Laptop in Court, Judge Rules

Judge Lewis Kaplan will also allow Bankman-Fried to appear in a suit for the trial.

AccessTimeIconSep 27, 2023 at 6:25 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 27, 2023 at 6:48 p.m. UTC
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A federal judge signed off on a defense request to allow FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to use an "air-gapped" laptop to take notes while in court during his trial next month.

Bankman-Fried's attorneys asked that he be allowed to use a laptop with no internet access to take notes during his trial, though he would not actually be able to hold onto the laptop outside of the courtroom. Judge Lewis Kaplan, the Southern District of New York judge overseeing the case, signed off on the request on Wednesday.

The defense team said in its proposed order that the laptop would be the same machine Bankman-Fried used when he was out on bail earlier this year, though a technology consultant would disable any network connectivity functions.

A paralegal will be tasked with bringing the laptop to court in the morning and take it back from Bankman-Fried after the trial ends every day. The trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 3.

The judge also signed off on a defense request that Bankman-Fried be allowed to wear a suit in court. The U.S. Marshals Service or the Metropolitan Detention Center will have to accept and maintain three suits, four dress shirts, three ties, a belt and other clothing items.

Bankman-Fried appeared in court wearing a suit during hearings for the better part of this year, but has appeared in a prison uniform since he was remanded into custody last month.

The defense team has already lost two bids to have Bankman-Fried temporarily released since he was remanded, but has made another attempt, offering to impose strict conditions around the onetime FTX executive. Judge Kaplan set a 5:00 p.m. ET deadline today for the Department of Justice to comment on the request and scheduled a hearing to discuss the motion at 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday.

UPDATE (Sept. 27, 2023, 18:47 UTC): Adds hearing schedule.

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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.


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