DOJ wants SBF’s bail revoked over witness tampering, diary leak allegations
According to a July 28 court filing, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking the revocation of Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) bail, accusing him of attempting to tamper with witnesses and leaking Caroline Ellison’s diary to The New York Times.
The DOJ notes that SBF was released on a bond on Dec. 22, 2022, but later requested multiple bail modifications. According to the filing, on Jan. 15, 2023, the defendant reached out to the current general counsel of FTX US via email and the encrypted messaging application, Signal.
In the communication, SBF expressed a desire to reconnect and explore the possibility of establishing a constructive relationship. He inquired about the potential of using each other as resources or providing mutual input on various matters.
SBF also allegedly used Signal for obstructive purposes, with the app’s auto-deletion feature complicating the investigation. The court expressed concerns regarding the potential risk of witness tampering in light of the defendant’s behavior.
According to John Reed Stark, former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Internet Enforcement chief, Judge Lewis Kaplan has several options. He could view SBF’s actions as an effort to improperly influence witnesses and choose to either make further modifications to his bail conditions or revoke his bail entirely.
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He argued that Kaplan would face a tough decision in this case. If SBF is permitted to stay free, the judge will likely reiterate his previous warnings.
The written submission comes after a July 26 hearing in a Manhattan court. U.S. Attorney Danielle Sassoon requested the revocation of SBF’s bail based on allegations he used his freedom to intimidate Ellison, his former romantic partner and colleague. Sassoon informed the judge that SBF attempted to “intimidate” Ellison and made around 100 calls to an NYT reporter.
In a July 20 complaint, the DOJ also leveled accusations against SBF for leaking Ellison’s diary, accusing him of trying to publicly discredit a government witness by sharing her personal writings with a reporter.
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