FTX founder Bankman-Fried objects to tighter bail, says prosecutors ‘sandbagged’ him

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Legal professionals for Sam Bankman-Fried on Saturday urged a U.S. choose to not ban the indicted FTX cryptocurrency govt from speaking with former colleagues as a part of his bail, saying prosecutors “sandbagged” the method to place their shopper within the “worst potential mild.”

The attorneys have been responding to a Friday night time request by federal prosecutors that Bankman-Fried not be allowed to speak with most workers of FTX or his Alameda Analysis hedge fund with out attorneys current, or use the encrypted messaging apps Sign or Slack and doubtlessly delete messages robotically.

Bankman-Fried, 30, has been free on $250 million bond since pleading not responsible to costs of fraud within the looting of billions of {dollars} from the now-bankrupt FTX.

Prosecutors mentioned their request was in response to Bankman-Fried’s current effort to contact a possible witness towards him, the overall counsel of an FTX affiliate, and was wanted to forestall witness tampering and different obstruction of justice.

However in a letter to U.S. District Decide Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys mentioned prosecutors sprung the “overbroad” bail circumstances with out revealing that either side had been discussing bail over the past week.

“Moderately than look forward to any response from the protection, the federal government sandbagged the method, submitting this letter at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night,” Bankman-Fried’s attorneys wrote. “The federal government apparently believes {that a} one-sided presentation – spun to place our shopper within the worst potential mild – is one of the simplest ways to get the result it seeks.”

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys additionally mentioned their shopper’s efforts to contact the overall counsel and John Ray, put in as FTX’s chief govt throughout the chapter, have been makes an attempt to supply “help” and to not intrude.

A spokesman for U.S. Lawyer Damian Williams in Manhattan declined to remark.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys proposed that their shopper have entry to some colleagues, together with his therapist, however not be allowed to speak with Caroline Ellison and Zixiao “Gary” Wang, who’ve pleaded responsible and are cooperating with prosecutors.

They mentioned a Sign ban is not obligatory as a result of Bankman-Fried shouldn’t be utilizing the auto-delete characteristic, and concern he may is “unfounded.”

The attorneys additionally requested to take away a bail situation stopping Bankman-Fried from accessing FTX, Alameda or cryptocurrency belongings, saying there was “no proof” he was accountable for earlier alleged unauthorized transactions.

In an order on Saturday, Kaplan gave prosecutors till Monday to deal with Bankman-Fried’s considerations.

“The courtroom expects all counsel to abstain from pejorative characterizations of the actions and motives of their adversaries,” the choose added.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Enhancing by Andrea Ricci

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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