Sam Bankman-Fried’s Defense Renews Push for ‘Temporary Release’ Ahead of October Trial – Lawyers representing Sam Bankman-Fried have submitted a fresh legal request to attain his “temporary release” or, at the very least, arrange for him to confer with his legal advisors five days per week. They are invoking his entitlement to aid in the preparation of his legal case.
The legal team lodged a motion on Friday, contending that Bankman-Fried’s incarceration is impinging upon his ability to engage in his defense strategy. This hindrance arises from the fact that the essential documents he must review are exclusively accessible through online means.
“We do not believe that anything short of temporary release will properly address these problems and safeguard Mr. Bankman-Fried’s right to participate in his own defense,” a Friday letter authored by defense attorney Christian Everdell said.
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“At the very least, however, we respectfully request that the Court reconsider its previous decision and order the Marshals to produce Mr. Bankman-Fried to the proffer rooms at 500 Pearl Street five days a week, where defense counsel can provide him with an internet-enabled computer that will permit him to review, edit, and share documents and work product with his attorneys.”
“Defense counsel will be present with Mr. Bankman-Fried the entire time and will take back the laptop at the end of the session.” Earlier this month, the bond belonging to the founder of FTX was rescinded following a decision by Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over the case.
The judge determined that Bankman-Fried had made at least two attempts to interfere with witnesses, thereby breaching the terms of his release on bail. In response, his legal representatives declared their intention to appeal and endeavored to prevent Bankman-Fried from being detained during the same court session in which Judge Kaplan directed his remand.
Subsequently, they brought up the matter again before Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn last week. At issue, they say, is “Bankman-Fried’s Sixth Amendment right to participate in preparing his defense and his right to receive effective assistance of counsel.”
The communication on Friday stated that he requires a laptop with internet connectivity. This is necessary for him to examine the extensive array of documents generated during the discovery process and to contribute to a spreadsheet that arranges essential elements.
Everdell made a similar argument during Bankman-Fried’s most recent arraignment, saying “there is no way for him to effectively communicate his work product, his analyses to us.” Although Bankman-Fried can utilize a laptop during his time at the federal courthouse in Manhattan, he is constrained to six hours a day for two days per week, as per Judge Kaplan’s stipulation.
This allocation is notably diminished compared to the “80-100 hours a week” he used to dedicate before his incarceration. Additionally, the laptop he has access to has a restricted battery life, and the internet connection is feeble, as outlined in Friday’s communication. It’s important to note that he is devoid of both internet and laptop access while confined within the Metropolitan Detention Center.
“Bankman-Fried does not have access to any discovery or work product at the MDC and has not had any such access since he was detained two weeks ago,” the letter said. “At the Government’s invitation, we have been sending hard drives to Mr. Bankman-Fried with selected documents and work product for him to review at the MDC.”
“But Mr. Bankman-Fried does not have a laptop at the MDC that he can use to review them. This means that there is almost nothing Mr. Bankman-Fried can do at the MDC to prepare for trial.” The defense team also expressed concern regarding the continuous document disclosures by the Department of Justice.
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They highlighted that prosecutors introduced over 4 million new pages of documents in the previous week. They are requesting the judge to intervene and prevent any documents from being shared after July 1. Their rationale is that the available time is insufficient to comprehensively review all of the documents before the trial commences.
The judge issued an order directing the prosecutors to provide a response to the aforementioned letter, along with a prior letter that detailed one of Bankman-Fried’s intended defense strategies, by Tuesday, August 29. Additionally, a virtual hearing has been slated for Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time to address the matters pertaining to discovery.