The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested that the court revoke former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail.
“It is the government’s view that no set of release conditions can secure the safety of the community,” said assistant U.S. attorney Danielle Sassoon in a July 26 hearing, adding that it “appears to be undisputed” that Bankman-Fried sent documents to a New York Times reporter with the intention to discredit former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison.
The article in question contains direct excerpts from Ellison’s private journals, where she details her struggles with running Alameda and the fallout from the end of her romantic relationship with Bankman-Fried.
“Running Alameda doesn’t feel like something I’m that comparatively advantaged at or well suited to do,” the article quotes Ellison saying in one entry.
“Not giving you the contact you wanted felt like the only way I could regain a sense of power,” Ellison allegedly wrote in another entry, which is seemingly addressed to Bankman-Fried.
Prosecutors at the DOJ claim that Bankman-Fried sent more than 100 emails to the reporters at the publication and had over 100 phone calls with the author of the story.
According to Matthew Russell Lee, an Inner City Press reporter who tweeted live from the hearing, prosecutors are also concerned about Bankman-Fried’s communications with Michael Lewis, who is set to publish a book on FTX close to the start of his trial.
AUSA Sassoon: There was the use of a VPN, the contact with the journalist on background or off the record, I don't know what the term is…
Judge Kaplan: Let's talk about getting this teed up. Any objection to a order striking out "interfere with a fair trial"?
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) July 26, 2023
Judge Lewis Kaplan, overseeing the trial, set out a schedule for the prosecutors and Bankman-Fried’s lawyers to make formal written submissions on the matter of sending the former FTX CEO back to jail. The DOJ has until July 28 to file their statement and the defense has until Aug. 3 to respond.
“I am mindful of the First Amendment, and of the government’s interest. Mr. Bankman-Fried, you better take it seriously too,” said Kaplan.
Bankman-Fried’s trial is scheduled to commence on Oct. 2. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.