Aug 2, 2023

Attorneys for Sam Bankman-Fried are pushing back against the DOJ’s motion to jail FTX founder ahead of his trial over allegations that Bankman-Fried has tampered with witnesses.

Video transcript

Attorneys for Sam Bank Fried are pushing back against the DOJ Department of Justice's allegations that the FTX founder has tampered with witnesses. Joining us now to discuss this is coin global policy and regulation. Managing editor Nick Day who is also editor of Coin State of crypto newsletter. Good morning, Nick. Good morning. So tell us, uh SPFS uh attorneys, you know, they've, they've made some latest uh uh defenses. I'd say what are the latest filings actually saying? Yeah. So on Tuesday night, attorneys first hand be Fried responded to a DOJ brief which basically asked the judge to revoke Bain Fried's bail and turn him to jail uh ahead of his trial. According to the defense attorneys, you know, the government's case, uh they claim was quote extremely thin and mischaracterizes a lot of the actions that they allege that Bank fried, you know, committed in the course of his release on bond over the last seven months or so. A couple of examples, the DOJ pointed to Bank and reaching out to FTX US General counsel Ryan Miller by asking to coordinate statements or bet statements rather the use of a virtual private network, supposedly to watch a football game, uh which again is freely available on any television in the US. Uh And most recently, his alleged leaking of uh Carolyn Ellison's documents private diary to try and intimidate her as a witness um to the New York Times. According to the defense, all of those actions are mischaracterized. They say that Miller reached out to bank first and shared uh some limited signal screenshots indicating that he had, in fact, you know, messaged him first back in November of 2022. Uh They said that the virtual private network uh was for, you know, in obvious purposes that the government has no proof otherwise, which admittedly the government did admit, but also uh said that's because the nature of the VPN prevents them from, you know, knowing what exactly someone is doing with it. Uh And most recently, they're saying that, you know, the doj itself provided comment or rather uh spoke to the New York Times, uh you know, without attribution pointing to certain details in the article. So, you know, now we'll see how the DOJ responds they have until Thursday to file a last response and then it will be up to the judge to decide, you know, should there be a hearing or does he have enough material as it, Nick? I, we can't talk about Sam back Murphy. I just have to ask your opinion. What, what do you think is the credibility of these rumors or reports? That he's behind this latest sort of rug poll. I mean, is there a, there, there? I have honestly zero idea. So, on the one hand, he's subject to a pretty strict set of restrictions right now. Right. Everything he's doing in, you know, while in his parents' house is recorded, every visitor is recorded. Every phone call he makes, gets recorded. He has to use, uh, computers with software to track his activity. He has a white list of websites he can access. So if it's not on the list, he can't access it. So, you know, it's certainly possible that anyone who has spent some time in the crypto sector and who's familiar, you know, who's good at computers uh and using them might find a way to bypass all of these controls and uh restrictions and, you know, create a token and rug bullet, but it would be, I think, difficult to prove. And again, he's subject to quite a hefty list of restrictions right now. Um I'm not sure if he's still in New York. He was in New York last week to, you know, be present in the hearing on Wednesday. Um So, yeah, that is an interesting rumor. I haven't seen anything one way or another to say anything about that. Yeah, dramatic dramatic allegation. Yeah, I, I do have one final question for you, Nick, what is the agency of uh journalists uh like from the New York Times uh in actually doing the work in convincing SPF to share the documents. Is that something that's factored into this conversation or this hearing? It is not, I don't think so during the hearing on Wednesday, Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the case, um, you know, pointed out that he doesn't have the authority to, uh, you know, restrict, quote the whole world. He can place limits on bank feed conduct on how the DOJ, you know, comports itself. But as far as let's say, the general public goes because, you know, for purposes here, journalists are part of the general public. Um you know, there's only, he's not, not really anything he can do about what they say. So, um you know, if a reporter finds a private diary belonging to Ellison and that's prominent and reports on that, that's one thing the actual conduct the DOJ is concerned with is they say that banquet feed is uh you know, deliberately trying to share or leak content. Um That would have an impact on, you know, either her credibility as a witness or try, you know, potentially try and harass and intimidate her before she even, you know, steps on to the witness stand. Um So, you know, the journalists, I would say the news organizations that are publishing on this are not really a factor as far as the judge is concerned. It's more, you know, how is re engaging with them, what is he doing? And is that conduct you know violation of its bail conditions and is it meant to violate the law? Thank you. Thank you so much for that Nick that was coins global policy and regulation. Managing editor Nick and don't forget to sign up for the state of crypto news that are on coin dot com.

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