Lawyers for renowned crypto entrepreneur, Sam Bankman-Fried, have fiercely rebutted the allegations that their client sought to intimidate witnesses in his upcoming criminal trial by communicating with New York Times reporters.
The defense contends that this allegation is unsubstantiated and should not be grounds for the revocation of Bankman-Fried's bail.
The Case Against Bankman-Fried
In an August 1st letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan, Bankman-Fried's legal team criticized the prosecution's attempts to keep their client behind bars.
The attorneys contended that the efforts to revoke his bail were "extremely weak," as they heavily relied on assumptions and circumstantial evidence. The Department of Justice (DOJ), however, presents a different narrative.
On July 28, it sought to revoke Bankman-Fried's bail, alleging that he had shared a diary belonging to Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, with the New York Times in an effort to harass and intimidate her.
The Defense Strikes Back
Bankman-Fried's lawyers have countered these accusations, asserting that his interactions with New York Times reporters constituted "a proper exercise of his rights to fairly comment on an article already in progress." They further noted that the reporters already had alternative sources.
In a bold twist, Bankman-Fried's legal team has implied that U.S. government officials might have shared Ellison's diary with the New York Times, casting doubt on the validity of the prosecution's argument. They pointed to the language used in the story, which mentioned information about the government's trial preparation process and documents that their client did not provide, as evidence of this alternative theory.
"The language of the story itself [...] strongly indicates it was a source," the lawyers stated.
A Sympathetic Public Eye
The defense attorneys argued that the article, which revealed diary entries of Ellison expressing feelings of being overwhelmed, insecure, and heartbroken over her breakup with Bankman-Fried, actually cast her in a favorable light, thereby undermining the allegations of harassment.
Ellison, who has pleaded guilty to fraud charges, is expected to cooperate with the DOJ and testify against Bankman-Fried in the forthcoming criminal trial slated for October. In the meantime, Judge Kaplan has issued a restraining order against both Bankman-Fried and the prosecutors while he deliberates over the contested bail revocation. The stage is set for an intriguing legal battle, with the whole world watching.
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