**Former CEO of FTX Denies Witness Tampering Allegations**
Former CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), has denied allegations of witness tampering after sharing excerpts from his ex-girlfriend’s private diary with a reporter from the New York Times.
**US Department of Justice Accuses Bankman-Fried of Leaking Diary**
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has accused Bankman-Fried of leaking the diary of Caroline Ellison, a former colleague and CEO of sister trading firm Alameda Research, who is also a key witness in Bankman-Fried’s upcoming trial.
**DOJ’s Concerns About Jury Pool Taint and Witness Harassment**
In its request to Judge Lewis Kaplan, the DOJ argues that such leaks have the potential to taint the jury pool and create an environment of harassment that could deter other potential trial witnesses from testifying. The DOJ aims to ensure a fair trial by an impartial jury and protect the due administration of justice.
**FTX Founder’s Response to DOJ’s Motion**
Bankman-Fried’s attorney has filed a letter in response to the DOJ’s motion, claiming that the government’s position is based on “thin factual evidence, unsupported inferences, and assumptions.” The defense also raises serious First Amendment concerns regarding detaining Bankman-Fried based on his communications with a reporter.
**First Amendment Rights and Participation in Defense**
According to the letter from SBF’s lawyer, criminal defendants have a right to talk to the press about their case to influence their public image and protect their reputation, as long as the communications are not calculated to pervert the course of justice. The defense also argues that detaining Bankman-Fried in the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) would hinder his ability to fully participate in his defense.
**Staffing Crisis and Lack of Internet Access at the MDC**
The defense claims that the MDC is currently in a staffing crisis, making it impossible for the detention center to provide sufficient access to the voluminous and complex discovery materials. Additionally, the prison does not allow inmates to have internet access, which would severely limit Bankman-Fried’s ability to review key parts of the discovery.
**SBF’s Proposed Solution to DOJ’s Concerns**
The defense proposes the imposition of the Temporary Order Governing Extrajudicial Statements as a final order, considering it the “least restrictive” method to address the government’s concerns. The defense is willing to agree to the order to focus on trial preparation without distractions and additional collateral litigation.
**Responding to Intimidation and Discrediting Claims**
In response to the government’s claim that Bankman-Fried’s contact with a reporter was an attempt to intimidate or discredit Ellison, the defense argues that the reporter approached Bankman-Fried about an article he was already writing that featured Ellison’s personal diaries and writings. Bankman-Fried shared copies of the writings that the reporter already knew about, not produced in discovery, to provide his perspective and protect his reputation.
**Insufficient Evidence of Witness Tampering**
The defense argues that there is no probable cause to support the allegation of witness tampering by the former FTX CEO. Furthermore, there is no clear and convincing evidence of a “serious risk” that Bankman-Fried will attempt to intimidate a witness in the future.
The legal battle between Sam Bankman-Fried and the DOJ continues as he denies allegations of witness tampering. Bankman-Fried’s defense team argues that the leaks were a permissible exercise of his First Amendment rights and that detaining him in the MDC would hinder his ability to participate in his defense effectively. The defense proposes a “least restrictive” solution to address the DOJ’s concerns and emphasizes the lack of evidence supporting the witness tampering allegation.