U.S. DoJ Seeks Detention Of Former FTX CEO

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has taken a significant step in the legal proceedings against Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, a now-defunct exchange. In a letter addressed to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the DoJ has requested Bankman-Fried’s detention on serious charges of witness tampering and unauthorized release of private writings.

DoJ Disputes Bail Claim

The allegations against Bankman-Fried stem from his alleged involvement in tampering with witness credibility and sharing confidential information with the media, specifically the New York Times. The DoJ refutes the defense’s argument that limiting Bankman-Fried’s bail would infringe on his right to free speech. They assert that Bankman-Fried’s actions went beyond exercising his First Amendment rights and amounted to covert attempts to harm a witness’s reputation and influence the trial’s outcome.

The DoJ believes that detaining Bankman-Fried until his trial is the appropriate course of action to ensure the integrity of the legal process. They argue that his release could potentially harm the credibility of the government’s cooperating witness and emotionally sway potential jurors.

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Bankman-Fried’s Media Communication

Bankman-Fried’s defense countered by claiming that the New York Times journalist was already aware of the witness’s journals, but the DoJ dismissed this assertion. They allege that Bankman-Fried likely informed the journalist about the diaries before the article’s publication, suggesting his involvement in the unauthorized release. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers expressed concerns about his ability to fully participate in his defense while in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC), citing staffing problems. However, the DoJ maintains that all MDC inmates have adequate access to participate in their defense.

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The defense submitted an affidavit from Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, aiming to support their claim that Bankman-Fried’s detention could raise First Amendment concerns. According to Tribe, while awaiting trial, Bankman-Fried can make public statements about the accusations and his accuser, but under certain restrictions.