A federal judge ruled that there was “probable cause” to suspect SBF had engaged in actions that could have resulted in his detention prior to his October trial. : 58
As a federal judge stated there was “probable cause” to believe the former CEO of FTX may have attempted witness tampering, Sam Bankman-Fried may “conceivably” have his bail revoked.
Bankman-bail Fried’s conditions were discussed in court on February 16; according to various accounts, Judge Lewis Kaplan stated that there was “probable cause to suspect that he [Bankman-Fried] has committed or attempted to conduct a federal offense while on release, namely witness tampering.”
As a result, the FTX founder might “conceivably” be sent back to prison until his October trial, according to Kaplan.
Although the hearing on February 16 was not one for revoking bail, Kaplan cautioned that it “may get there, theoretically.”
“Why am I being asked to let him run free in this electronic device garden?” Kaplan allegedly stated.
In a tweet on February 17, law scholar Richard Painter reiterated the sentiment and suggested that, given his current situation, it might not be a smart idea to tamper with a witness:Hello Crypto Brother: A wonderful technique to quickly return to prison is by tampering with a witness while you’re out on bail.
On February 15, the prosecution requested that Bankman-Fried be limited to using only a single monitored computer and smartphone.
Bankman-recent Fried’s use of devices was cited by the prosecution as a reason for concern, and they sought to further limit and monitor his usage “with restricted exceptions.”
Judge Kaplan said during the hearing that it was naïve to think that these limitations would prevent Bankman-Fried from using the internet given that he lives with his two parents, who both have laptops and cellphones.
Kaplan implied that removing Bankman-bail Fried’s could minimize these concerns after prosecutor Nicholas Roos appeared to agree and said there may not be a “wonderful solution,” adding: “There is a solution, but it’s not one anybody has presented yet.”
The defense team for Bankman-Fried, however, contended that they require him in order to work on his case, saying, “We cannot go through these huge financial data without him.”
On February 9, when it was discovered that the former FTX CEO had contacted prospective witnesses, he is not allowed to use certain messaging services. Also, he was temporarily prohibited from using a VPN after prosecutors charged him with doing so twice, on January 29 and February 12.
At the hearing on February 16, the VPN ban was not prolonged.
A lot of people, both inside and outside the crypto world, have expressed shock that Bankman-bail Fried’s hasn’t been revoked despite the circumstances.