The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to stifle Sam Bankman-Fried’s communications with FTX and Alameda Research employees before his trial.
In a new court filing, the DOJ asks for a ruling that would cut off Bankman-Fried’s access to all current and former employees of the embattled crypto firms as they may be prone to intimidation.
“The Government is seeking to limit the defendant’s contact only with current and former FTX and Alameda employees, the very people who until recently were the defendant’s underlings whom he supervised and financially compensated, and who are therefore most vulnerable to intimidation.
The Government does not consider it administrable to identify a more limited subset of former and current employees whom the defendant may not contact – the Government has not completed its investigation and is still identifying individuals with information relevant to the charges who may be potential trial witnesses.”
According to the DOJ, Bankman-Fried has already attempted to contact a witness, asking if they could reconnect to use each other as resources.
“It has recently come to the Government’s attention that the defendant has been in direct communication with the current General Counsel of FTX US who may be a witness at trial (‘Witness-1’), and who is represented by counsel. Specifically, on January 15, 2023, the defendant contacted Witness-1 over the encrypted messaging application Signal, as well as by email.”
FTX initially filed for bankruptcy last November after its native asset collapsed, and was forced to halt customer withdrawals. Its founder, Bankman-Fried, is accused of defrauding investors and mishandling user funds by loaning them out by the billions to Alameda, FTX’s trading branch, to make bets that went awry. He is currently out on bail awaiting trial.
If convicted, he could face over 100 years in prison.
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