Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) may be subjected to a gag order, preventing him from making any public statements concerning FTX and the individuals involved in the legal case, according to Reuters. Judge Lewis Kaplan is expected to decide whether this gag order is necessary during a hearing scheduled for July 26.
SBF has faced criticism for divulging information about Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison during an interview with the New York Times. Prosecutors argue that this action constituted witness tampering. In a letter addressed to Judge Kaplan, SBF’s legal team acknowledged that he had met with reporters and provided them with documents authored by Ellison. However, they vehemently denied the allegations of witness tampering made by the prosecution. The defense firmly asserted that SBF’s actions were not driven by malicious intent and that the prosecution’s claims lacked foundation. Mark Cohen, SBF’s lawyer, stated, “[SBF] did not violate the protective order in this case, nor did he violate his bail conditions, nor did he violate any law or rule.”
SBF’s legal representatives further stated that their client would comply with a gag order should the court deem it necessary. They also argued that the gag order should extend to the prosecution and all witnesses involved in the case, including current FTX CEO John Ray. The defense claimed that Ray had publicly attacked and vilified SBF on numerous occasions, portraying him as a villain despite the absence of a verdict from the court.
On July 20, the New York Times published an article revealing excerpts from Ellison’s “personal diary” in the form of Google documents. These entries were written during Ellison’s tenure as the head of Alameda Research before the collapse of FTX. The diary entries primarily focused on Ellison’s breakup with SBF and her challenges in leading Alameda Research, which she described as “overwhelming.”
Ellison has pleaded guilty in the FTX case and is cooperating with the prosecutors. Her testimony holds significant importance as she was a key member of FTX’s inner circle. Prosecutors argue that leaking these private documents was an attempt to interfere with a fair trial by biasing the jury against a crucial witness. They asserted, “In addition to tainting the jury pool, the effect, if not the intent, of the defendant’s conduct is not only to harass Ellison but also to deter other potential trial witnesses from testifying.”
As the legal battle surrounding FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried continues, the question of a potential gag order looms. Judge Kaplan’s ruling on this matter will determine whether SBF will be silenced throughout the proceedings. The defense maintains that the allegations against their client are baseless, while the prosecution argues that SBF’s actions were an attempt to manipulate the trial. With both sides presenting their arguments, the court will soon decide the fate of SBF’s ability to publicly comment on the case.