- The US Justice Department had filed a complaint against Sam Bankman-Fried for allegedly tampering with witnesses.
- DOJ last week said Bankman-Fried had tried to discredit Caroline Ellison, a former colleague who’s now a key prosecution witness.
- While US Judge Lewis Kaplan did not jail the former FTX CEO, he allowed parties to submit a gag proposal.
Sam Bankman-Fried could end up in jail ahead of his criminal trial set for October after the US Justice Department asked the court to have the disgraced former FTX CEO detained.
Bankman-Fried accused of witness tampering
In its argument during a hearing on the matter on July 26, the DOJ said Bankman-Fried has on multiple occasions defied orders around witness tampering. The prosecution’s move comes a few days after the DOJ accused the former FTX chief of leaking the private diary of Caroline Ellison in an attempt to discredit her.
As CoinJournal reported last week, allegations of tampering with witnesses against Bankman-Fried in that instance related to a story published in the New York Times and which drew from materials the government said were from Ellison’s private diary.
Ellison is a former colleague of Bankman-Fried’s and was CEO of FTX sister company Alameda Research. She entered a plea deal with the DOJ in exchange for testifying against SBF.
According to the prosecution, the government has come to the conclusion that the ex-FTX CEO will continue to interfere with witnesses no matter the set of release conditions” before him. Last week, the DOJ pointed out that Bankman-Fried could influence the jury with his extrajudicial statements.
While his attorneys say sending him into remand would impact the organization of his defense, and Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York did not immediately grant the DOJ’s prayers, Bankman-Fried has been duly warned to “take this seriously.”
The judge has also allowed parties to work on a gag order, with this likely to be in place by August 3.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas after the collapse of FTX in November last year. His extradition saw him secure bail. He faces several charges, including fraud.