Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, objected to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) plan to provide discovery access while Bankman-Fried remains in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC).
In an Aug. 25 letter addressed to Judge Lewis Kaplan, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that the government’s plan was “plainly inadequate” and violated the FTX founder’s Sixth Amendment right to participate in his legal defense.
The lawyers also objected to 4 million additional pages of discovery that the government introduced on Aug. 24, and moved to preclude the new evidence from being used at his trial which is set to commence on Oct. 2.
“The Government cannot be allowed to dump millions of pages on the defense less than six weeks before trial, especially when the Government has no plans whatsoever to produce the documents to Mr. Bankman-Fried in the MDC for his review,” wrote the lawyers.
According to them, there is “no substitute” for Bankman-Fried’s work on the defense, given his extensive knowledge about the companies in question and his ability to locate relevant documents quickly and efficiently.
“We do not believe that anything short of temporary release will properly address these problems and safeguard Mr. Bankman-Fried’s right to participate in his own defense,” they said.
The following day, Judge Kaplan issued an order requesting the government to respond to Bankman-Fried’s counsel’s letters on the discovery no later than Aug. 29. The court will also hear arguments on the motions to preclude the new evidence through a Microsoft Teams meeting on Aug. 30.
Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, including fraud and money laundering charges. He faces a total of 12 criminal counts which will be heard in two trials – the first seven charges will be heard in October, and five additional charges will be heard in March 2024.