It’s official: orange is the new black for alleged cryptocurrency criminal Sam Bankman-Fried. This came as a federal Judge ended the continuous back-and-forth between the former wonderboy and U.S. prosecutors over his behaviour while awaiting criminal trial in October by revoking the FTX co-founder’s bail and sending him packing off to jail on Friday afternoon, August 11.
The cause? Witness tampering, particularly the dissemination of private documents owned by Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, and CEO of Alameda Research, the hedge fund that was the empty hub of FTX’s multibillion-dollar collapse.
Later, those records appeared in a New York Times article about Ellison, which American prosecutors claim was an attempt to intimidate her. The parts that the Grey Lady cherry-picked portray Ellison at her worst—both personally and professionally.
For her part, Ellison has admitted guilt to each of the seven fraud accusations brought against her for the active part she is alleged to have played in the tragic FTX implosion. She is still an important witness in the impending trial of Bankman-Fried.
During the hearing, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan stated that there was “probable cause to believe that the defendant has attempted to tamper with witnesses at least twice.”
The Southern District of New York’s Assistant U.S. Attorney, Danielle Sassoon, informed Kaplan that “the Defendant requested access to Google Drive, he said, for discovery.” Then he used it to deliver Ms. Ellison’s documents to the New York Times.
“It suffices for the court to find that detention is necessary if he is not likely to follow the terms of his release on bail. He intends to compromise the fairness of the trial, Sassoon continued. Kaplan decided to revoke bail. Bankman-Fried Willing to Take a Chance and Cross the Line
Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, acknowledged that his client gave the New York Times access to some of Ellison’s diary entries. Still, he disagreed that this amounted to witness tampering and insisted it was a matter of freedom of speech. What if a reporter contacts a defendant and requests a statement? Said Cohen.
The freedom of speech argument did not hold water with Kaplan, who emphasized that the most recent prince-to-pauper tale in cryptocurrency demonstrated a pattern of behavior that was repeatedly willful and in which Bankman-Fried was prepared “to risk crossing the line to get right up to the line wherever it is.”
The judge denied a defense attempt to postpone Bankman-Fried’s imprisonment while an appeal of the bail revocation was ongoing. The defense team for Bankman-Fried also asserted that it would be more challenging for the 31-year-old to get ready for his trial if his bail were revoked.
In response, Kaplan stated, “I don’t think that the revocation is quite the insurmountable problem,” adding that he would permit Bankman-Fried to spend time in his attorneys’ offices before his October 2 trial, where he will be accused of wire fraud, commodities fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, and associated conspiracy charges.
A second criminal trial for Bankman-Fried on new allegations, including violations of campaign financing laws, is scheduled for March 2024.
He maintains his innocence despite being charged with stealing billions of dollars in consumer money from his Bitcoin exchange. The court must receive pre-trial motions from the prosecution and the defense by Monday, August 14.
The defense team for Bankman-Fried intends to contest the cancellation of his bail because imprisoning the alleged cryptocurrency fraudster would violate his Sixth Amendment right by preventing him from preparing for trial.
Where Bankman-Fried would be held was unclear at first. At the hearing, U.S. Attorney Sassoon suggested holding him at the Putnam County Correctional Facility rather than the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn.
Furthermore, whether he will be given vegan meals is still being determined. After Friday’s court session, the former paper billionaire removed his shoelaces, jacket, and tie, emptied his pockets, and U.S. Marshals Service agents handcuffed him before bringing him outside. His parents were present.
The Bankman-Fried tragedy has been one of the most astounding and swift penthouse-to-jailhouse implosions in contemporary history, and it is believed that the alleged theft of billions of dollars from millions of unsuspecting consumers will be the act that defines Bankman-Fried’s existence. Source