The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is intensifying its efforts to revoke the bail granted to Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Facing serious allegations, SBF is now at the center of rising concerns about potential witness intimidation, prompting the prosecution to demand his return to custody.
The DOJ’s recent written submission builds on its previous plea, asserting that no bail conditions can guarantee SBF’s compliance with legal proceedings. This move comes after the prosecution had previously sought SBF’s incarceration when allegations emerged that he leaked the private journals of his former partner, Caroline Ellison, to the New York Times.
Ellison, a crucial witness for the prosecution, has admitted her involvement in the ill-fated crypto venture and has become a key figure in the case against SBF. The DOJ alleges that SBF intended to intimidate Ellison through the leak, and the recent court filing from July 28 reinforces this claim. The filing accuses SBF of meeting a journalist, sharing documents, and making numerous calls to him as part of his efforts to potentially influence or prevent trial testimony from witnesses.
The prosecution argues that SBF’s leaking of Ellison’s private writings is just one instance of his attempts to intimidate and corruptly persuade her and other potential trial witnesses. They contend that SBF’s interactions with the media go beyond mere responses to inquiries, with over a hundred emails and conversations totaling over a thousand.
The DOJ also points to a previous incident in 2022 when SBF, using encrypted means like Signal and VPN, reached out to a potential witness, leading to changes in his bail terms. These patterns of behavior, according to the prosecution, demonstrate that no set of pretrial release conditions can adequately ensure the safety of the community, and they cast doubt on SBF’s likelihood of fully abiding by any conditions of release.
In response to the DOJ’s allegations, SBF’s legal team refutes their claims, arguing that his actions were merely attempts to defend his reputation. The prosecution counters, asserting that while everyone has the right to a defense strategy, tarnishing someone’s public image and potentially influencing juror perceptions is not a legitimate manner in which to pursue it.
As the legal battle intensifies, the court will ultimately decide whether to retract the bail granted to Sam Bankman-Fried, and his future in the ongoing case will be closely watched by the cryptocurrency community and legal observers alike.