• The US DoJ pushed to keep FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried in jail pending his trial period.
  • The embattled FTX founder was accused of unduly influencing witnesses.

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) is mulling the idea of keeping the former Chief Executive Officer of FTX Derivatives Exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) in jail pending the time of his trial. Markedly, prosecutors requested during a hearing in Manhattan federal court that U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan detain Bankam-Fried now to keep him from tampering with witnesses any further.

This comes after a gag order was levied on the young billionaire by Judge Kaplan, preventing him from speaking with unauthorized third parties which may influence his criminal trial. According to the DoJ, SBF attempts to discredit his former business associate Caroline Ellison whom he had been in a relationship with by sharing personal documents.

Ellison became a government witness after she was indicted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and pleaded guilty alongside Gary Wang for being allies to the former FTX CEO.

To push her off balance, Bankman-Fried shared Ellison’s personal documents with a journalist who planned to feature them in an article to be published by The New York Times on Thursday, July 20th.

The personal document in question contains details of her breakup with the troubled billionaire and the struggles she had while she was leading FTX’s sister trading firm Alameda Research. SBF’s action led the enforcement agency to restrict his communication with the public.

SBF Reaches Out to Media Personalities

His attack on his former partner is one of the numerous attempts that Sam Bankman-Fried has made to influence the outcome of his upcoming trial. Danielle Sassoon, an assistant U.S. attorney, confirmed that SBF has sent over 100 emails to reporters and has also made about 100 phone calls to a single Times reporter who is believed to be the same person he sent Ellison’s writings to.

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At the same time, prosecutors are concerned with the former crypto executive’s frequent communication with American writer and financial journalist Michael Lewis. Sam Bankman-Fried is said to have made over 500 phone calls to this author who plans to release a book about FTX as its criminal trial draws closer. Mark Cohen, SBF’s legal representative, claimed that the 31-year-old defendant was only trying to protect his reputation by relating with media persons.

In SBF’s defence, Cohen contended that there had been several negative comments about the former CEO in circulation. Hence, he was trying to change the media’s narrative about him. The lawyer’s response has raised skepticism in the minds of the DoJ.

Just like he rejected Sam Bankman-Fried’s request to dismiss the criminal charges filed against him, Judge Kaplan has refused to detain SBF in jail before his October 2nd court hearing but he also drafted a rapid schedule to give the defendant and the prosecutors ample time to make formal written submissions on the subject.

The DoJ has until Friday while the defence can respond on Tuesday before a final response from the DoJ on Wednesday, August 3rd.

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