In a dramatic scene unfolding in a New York courtroom, former FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, was escorted out in handcuffs. The incident, set against the backdrop of alleged attempts by Bankman-Fried to influence and intimidate witnesses in his criminal trial, has captured media attention nationwide.
Breach of Trust: Bail Conditions Violated
Bankman-Fried's bail, which stood at a staggering $250 million, was granted to keep him out of custody since his December 2022 trial. However, the tables turned on August 11, when Judge Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York revoked his bail.
The reason? Bankman-Fried allegedly leaked information to New York Times reporters with the apparent motive to scare and potentially harm former Alameda Research CEO, Caroline Ellison, with whom he shares both professional and personal history.
Such actions, taken outside the courtroom, have been seen as an attempt to sway the trial's outcome in his favor. Prosecutors were adamant in their push to revoke Bankman-Fried's bail, a move that, according to those present in the courtroom, found favor with Judge Kaplan.
SBF just arrived to court - a judge could send him to jail this afternoon over witness tampering. Here’s a primer ahead of the hearing: https://t.co/7xA205agrD w/ @DawnGiel https://t.co/tb29du8WGY pic.twitter.com/shdjrbPeTG — MacKenzie Sigalos (@KenzieSigalos) August 11, 2023
A Pattern of Deception
While the leaked information to the media grabbed headlines, it was by no means the only violation cited by the prosecution.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Sassoon highlighted Bankman-Fried's disregard for the terms of his bail. Among the infractions were messaging via the Signal app, utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) for his online activities, and the now-infamous information leak to reporters.
Elaborating on the defendant's actions, the prosecution stated, "Faced with a series of conditions meant to limit the defendant's use of the internet and the phone, the defendant pivoted to in-person machinations." In response, the court has tightened the noose around Bankman-Fried by restricting his internet access and prohibiting the use of smartphones.
As the court mulls over his incarceration venue – with the Putnam County Jail being a strong contender – there's also talk of house arrest with stringent conditions, including potential restrictions on Google Drive usage.
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