Virgil Griffith is slated to be released to his parents’ home in Alabama pending some pre-release conditions, after a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Vernon Broderick in New York Monday.
“Laws in this country are not suggestions,” Judge Broderick told the accused Ethereum Foundation developer as the hearing began, according to a tweet thread from Matthew Russell Lee, founder of Inner City Press, who covered the hearing live from the courtroom. Griffith is now slated be released to his parent’s Tuscaloosa home under a $1 million bond.
“We are very pleased the district judge sided with us and ordered Virgil to be released pending trial,” Griffith’s attorney, Brian Klein, of Baker Marquart LLP, told CoinDesk in a statement.
Griffith is being held for allegedly violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by traveling to North Korea for a cryptocurrency conference organized by the government in Pyongyang.
Today’s hearing was an appeal of a denial of bond reported last week by the Inner City Press public interest group. The U.S. attorney, in that case, cited text messages indicating an intent to renounce his citizenship as a deciding factor in the denial.
Following a discussion of Griffith’s likelihood of flight risk and assets he might control outside the country, the judge ruled he could be released to his family as “moral suasion,” according to Lee.
Griffith served as the head of special projects for the Ethereum Foundation, but he has been suspended from work there, according to the Twitter thread. Arrested on Thanksgiving Day at an airport in Los Angeles, Griffith was previously set to be released pending trial.
CoinDesk has not yet determined how long it will take for Griffith to leave state custody. We will update this story as necessary. According to Inner City Press: “Pre-conditions to release are the signing of the $1 million bond (his father is here in NY) & Pre Trial Services in Alabama visiting. OKing the home in Tuscaloosa. “
CoinDesk has contacted the U.S. Attorney’s office for additional details but it was not immediately available for comment at press time.
UPDATE (Dec. 30, 19:59 UTC): This story has been updated since publication with a statement from Griffith’s attorney.