The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is urging the revocation of the bail bond for Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the former CEO and founder of the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The DOJ is requesting a detention order against SBF due to his alleged endeavors to tamper with witnesses, which could potentially obstruct a fair trial and the administration of justice.
Illegal Contacts with Witnesses Paint a Troubling Picture
Following SBF’s release on bail in December, the DOJ reveals that he attempted to contact the current general counsel of FTX.US through emails and the encrypted messaging app Signal. In these communications, SBF expressed his desire to reconnect with the counsel and establish a “constructive relationship” based on mutual assistance. This raised concerns given SBF’s history of obstructive activities using Signal leading up to the bankruptcy of his firm.
Revealing Private Material to Journalists
SBF’s involvement in leaking the private writings of Caroline Ellison, Alameda’s former CEO and SBF’s ex-girlfriend, also came to light during the investigation. The DOJ discovered that SBF had shared Ellison’s writings with reporters. Moreover, an extensive analysis revealed a significant volume of emails and phone calls between SBF and various media personnel. His interactions included frequent and extensive communication with one journalist involved in the New York Times article about Ellison, often lasting around 20 minutes. SBF further attempted to conceal his online activities by using virtual private networks.
The DOJ asserts that SBF’s actions demonstrate the inability of pretrial release conditions to ensure witness safety or his compliance with bail terms. Last week, prosecutors obtained a gag order that SBF agreed to, aiming to prevent further tampering with witnesses. However, the U.S. government emphasizes the necessity of detaining SBF until his trial, scheduled for October 2, 2023, to safeguard the legal process.
The U.S. Department of Justice has submitted a request to revoke Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail bond and impose a detention order. SBF’s alleged attempts to tamper with witnesses in his fraud case jeopardize the right to a fair trial and impede the administration of justice. With concerns over illicit communications and disclosure of private material, the DOJ argues that no pretrial release conditions can guarantee witness safety or SBF’s adherence to bail conditions. As the legal proceedings progress, it remains to be seen whether the court will grant the DOJ’s request for SBF’s detention.