Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that he should have access to crypto and assets held by his former company FTX. They claimed there is no evidence that he was responsible for any unauthorized transactions in the past.
Bankman-Fried, who resigned from his position as FTX’s chief operating officer when the crypto exchange filed bankruptcy on November 11, 2022, was currently being held on bail and is facing charges of wire fraud and money laundering. He has pleaded not guilty.
Bankman-Fried was banned from accessing cryptocurrency owned by FTX or its trading arm Alameda Research as part of his bail conditions. This restriction came after the government highlighted illicit transfers from Alameda wallets. This includes crypto bought with FTX funds or Alameda funds.
“Nearly three months have passed since the first pretrial conference, and we assume the Government’s inquiry has confirmed what Mr. BankmanFried has stated all along, namely that he didn’t access or transfer these assets,” said a Jan. 28th letter Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s attorney.
Cohen stated to Lewis Kaplan, a Southern District judge, that “Given the sole basis for seeking that condition has been rejected, we believe that that bail condition imposed during the conference should not be lifted.”
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a Jan. 27 motion seeking a communications ban to add bail conditions. It stated that Bankman-Fried attempted to contact FTX General Counsel Ryne Miller, and a potential witness in this case.
Cohen’s response is generally in agreement with the restriction. However, Bankman-Fried believes that he should still be able to access some former staffers including George Lerner, his therapist.
Cohen stated that Cohen demanded Mr. Bankman Fried to include counsel in all communications with former or current FTX employees. This would put an unnecessary strain on his resources, and hinder his ability to defend the case. Many of these people are friends of Mr. Bankman Fried. A blanket ban on Bankman-Fried’s contact with these individuals would eliminate an important source for personal support.”
Cohen stated that Bankman-Fried tried to “offer his help” in messages to Miller and John Ray, the new CEO of FTX. However, Cohen claimed that they were ignored by their intended recipients.
Continue reading: DOJ Claims Sam Bankman Fried tried to Influence Witness Testimony.