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Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers request jail release, DOJ says laptop access enough.

Prosecutors stated Tuesday that Sam Bankman-Fried, the imprisoned founder of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has been allowed adequate time and access to a laptop to study discovery as he waits for his trial, which is scheduled for early October.

Bankman-Fried, who is currently being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, has access to an air-gapped laptop in a visiting room from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays, according to a letter the U.S. Department of Justice sent to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

The prosecutors added that he currently has three hard drives and that the MDC has approved using a second air-gapped laptop, which can be stored near his housing unit for increased convenience. “To date, there have been no reported issues with the functionality of the USB ports and software applications utilized thus far,” the prosecutors said.

The judge had ordered the prosecutors to produce a letter on August 30 describing the status of Bankman-Fried’s access to discovery, and they did so in the form of a report.

But in brief on Tuesday, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys stated that even under the present setup, Bankman-Fried “will not have a meaningful opportunity to prepare his defence.”

The first day Mr. Bankman-Fried could work a full day with his materials at the MDC was Friday, September 1, 2023. However, MDC officials informed Mr. Bankman-Fried that he had to leave the visiting room at about 2:30 pm and return to his unit for the count, which was against the original agreement. This prevented him from working for 4.5 hours, according to his attorneys.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorneys have been pleading with the district court to allow the former FTX CEO a temporary release from custody to study papers before his future trial.

Tuesday, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys once again asked for her provisional release.

The circumstances of the cell block at 500 Pearl Street are another topic of discussion. At least two days a week, according to the prosecution, Banman-Fried has access to a laptop with an internet connection in the cellblock. The laptop has been “updated with a new 9-cell battery provided by defense counsel with approximately 8 hours of battery life.”

The defense team for Banman-Fried contended that it is too early to say whether the practices at the 500 Pearl Street cell block will function as intended. The last time he was brought to the cell block, it was essentially a waste of time because the internet there was, at best, inconsistent and sporadic, and the laptop’s battery life was insufficient for a full five hours of work.

As a result, the lawyer stated, “We are similarly doubtful that the cell block procedures will function as promised.”

 

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