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Prosecutors Want Sam Bankman-Fried Jailed Ahead of Trial

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Prosecutors Want Sam Bankman-Fried Jailed Ahead of Trial

U.S. prosecutors have asked a federal judge to put crypto exchange FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried in jail over alleged witness tampering before his trial starts in October. While requiring the prosecution to formalize the request and giving the defense enough time to make its case, the judge issued a temporary gag order restricting their public comments.

Prosecutors Seek Sam Bankman-Fried’s Detention Over Witness-Tampering Allegations

During a hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors in the case against Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), founder and former chief executive of the failed digital asset exchange FTX, asked U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan to send the crypto entrepreneur to jail.

SBF has been living under house arrest in his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California since December 2022 when he was released on a $250 million bond. His trial on criminal charges linked to the collapse of the crypto trading platform is scheduled to begin in October.

The prosecution is seeking modifications to Bankman-Fried’s bail agreement following the publication of an article in the New York Times about Caroline Ellison, former CEO of the Alameda Research hedge fund, also founded by Bankman-Fried, NPR and CNN reported.

In an interview with the newspaper, SBF showed some of the “private writings” of Ellison, who is also his former girlfriend. This, according to the prosecutors, amounted to witness tampering. Earlier this year, Ellison pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is expected to testify against him.

The Bahamas-headquartered FTX, which was one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on Nov. 11. About a month later, Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamian capital, Nassau, and extradited to the United States.

U.S. authorities accuse him of fraud and misusing customer funds, including to finance property purchases and increase trading through Alameda. Unlike Ellison and former FTX executives, SBF pleaded not guilty.

On Wednesday, Judge Kaplan said he was accepting the prosecution’s request but wants to see it in writing by Friday. Bankman-Fried’s lead attorney, Mark Cohen, complained the defense was notified about it “one minute before court.” SBF’s lawyers are expected to make their case against it by Aug. 1.

Kaplan imposed a temporary gag order while he considers the government’s request to jail Sam Bankman-Fried who has frequently communicated with the public and the media since his arrest. According to U.S. authorities, he has had over 1,000 phone calls with journalists including 100 calls with the reporter who wrote the New York Times piece.

Do you think the federal judge will grant the prosecution’s request to send SBF to jail ahead of his trial? Tell us in the comments section below.

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