The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has asked for Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, a now-defunct exchange, to be detained.
The request was made in a letter addressed to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Bankman-Fried is being charged with witness tampering and the unauthorized release of Ellison’s private writings to the New York Times, which allegedly harmed her reputation.
The DoJ strongly disagrees with the defense’s argument that removing Bankman-Fried’s bail would infringe on his right to free speech.
They argue that Bankman-Fried went beyond exercising his First Amendment right to speak with the media and covertly tried to weaken a witness’s credibility and sway the verdict.
Accordingly, the DoJ believes the appropriate course of action is to refuse Bankman-Fried’s bail request and keep him detained until his trial.
DOJ, SBF was looking to damage Ellison’s credibility
The defense argued that the New York Times journalist already knew about Ellison’s journals, but the DoJ disagreed. They claimed that Bankman-Fried probably informed the journalist about the diaries before writing the article.
According to prosecutors, Bankman-Fried intended to harm Ellison’s credibility, who is the government’s cooperating witness, and emotionally engage potential jurors in the case.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers are worried that he won’t be able to fully participate in his defense due to the apparent staffing problem at the Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC). Meanwhile, the DoJ maintains that all inmates at the MDC have access to full opportunities to participate in their defense.
To support their claim that their client’s imprisonment would raise First Amendment issues, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys submitted an affidavit from Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe.
While waiting for trial, Bankman-Fried, who won’t face illegal campaign financing charges, can make public statements about the accusations against him and his accuser under certain restrictions, as stated by Tribe.
After hearing from both parties, the judge will decide whether or not to revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail and hold him in custody until the trial.