In the latest twist to the gripping legal saga involving FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, his defense lawyers have passionately pleaded for his temporary release. They argue that his current confinement restricts his vital right to aid in his defense due to the inability to access pivotal online documents.
In a letter penned last Friday, defense attorney Christian Everdell laid out the urgent case: “Mr. Bankman-Fried’s right to actively participate in his defense is currently under threat given his incarceration.” Everdell suggests that, at a minimum, the tech mogul should be granted meetings with his lawyers five days a week at the 500 Pearl Street proffer rooms. Here, an internet-enabled computer would allow him to meticulously review and edit the numerous documents required for his case.
Earlier this month, a sharp turn in events saw Bankman-Fried’s bond revoked by Judge Lewis Kaplan. Kaplan ruled that the FTX maestro had breached his bail conditions by allegedly trying to influence witnesses twice. The defense, not one to back down, immediately announced an appeal.
Central to the defense’s argument is the assertion that Bankman-Fried’s Sixth Amendment right is currently being compromised. Everdell highlighted the gravity of this by stating, “Mr. Bankman-Fried cannot effectively relay his analysis or work product under the current conditions.”
Bankman-Fried’s limited access to a laptop while stationed at the federal courthouse in Manhattan further exacerbates the issue. Under Judge Kaplan’s directives, he’s confined to six hours daily, just two days a week. A drastic fall from the exhaustive “80-100 hours a week” he was accustomed to before his confinement. The cherry on top? The laptop’s fleeting battery life combined with subpar internet connectivity. This is intensified by the fact that he has neither laptop nor internet access while in the Metropolitan Detention Center.
“We’re in a bind,” the letter illustrates. Despite the defense team’s effort to send selected documents via hard drives, the lack of a laptop at the Metropolitan Detention Center renders him almost powerless in his trial preparations.
The defense isn’t just stopping there. They’re challenging the Department of Justice’s recent move of sharing a whopping 4 million pages of discovery documents. Their contention? Reviewing this colossal data before the trial’s commencement is impossible. Hence, they’re advocating to restrict any discovery documents produced post-July 1.
Bankman-Fried’s high-stakes trial is scheduled to kick off in early October, where he faces a gamut of charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and commodities fraud. As the plot thickens, Judge Kaplan has instructed prosecutors to formulate a response to the defense’s claims. Furthermore, a virtual hearing on these discovery issues is on the horizon, set for Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Stay tuned as this tech giant’s legal labyrinth unfolds.