DOJ insists on incarceration for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried over alleged witness tampering


  • The U.S. DOJ is pushing for the jailing of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, claiming he shared a diary to discredit a trial witness.
  • Both the defense and prosecution are accusing each other of mischaracterizing actions, with the DOJ alleging attempts by SBF to influence witnesses.
  • The case continues to develop, raising concerns about conduct within the cryptocurrency industry.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has made a fresh call for the incarceration of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) pending trial. The DOJ’s filing, made on Thursday, strongly opposes the defense’s argument and insists that the disgraced exchange CEO should be detained. This comes after his defense team conceded that he shared the diary of former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison with the New York Times.

The DOJ’s recent filings reiterate its position that Bankman-Fried’s actions go far beyond making a “fair comment.” According to the DOJ, the evidence establishes that Bankman-Fried acted not merely to exercise a constitutional right but took covert steps intended to “improperly discredit a trial witness and taint the jury pool.” His use of a virtual private network (VPN) to watch the Super Bowl and his contact with FTX.US General Counsel Ryne Miller have also been cited as concerns in this ongoing legal battle.

Bankman-Fried’s defense has been battling these accusations, arguing that he sought only to defend his reputation to the press and that the government had been “mischaracterizing” his actions to portray him negatively.

Previous infractions and current allegations

The present push for incarceration is not the first time Bankman-Fried has faced legal scrutiny. His alleged previous contact with a witness in January led to a court warning, in which there was probable cause to believe that he had engaged in witness tampering or attempted tampering.

The latest DOJ filing emphasizes the apparent calculated efforts by Bankman-Fried to influence witnesses and public opinion. The filings accuse him of creating a “media atmosphere” to heighten Ellison’s prominence before she acted as a witness. Moreover, they suggest that he may have initially informed the New York Times of Ellison’s diary prior to sharing the documents.

The DOJ has gone so far as to label Bankman-Fried’s actions as an attempt “to intimidate, harass, and embarrass” someone set to testify against him, aiming to provoke an emotional response from potential jurors. In response to the defense’s repeated mentions of current FTX CEO John J. Ray III, the DOJ filing dismisses them as an attempt to deflect from Bankman-Fried’s own conduct.

Judge Lewis Kaplan, overseeing the case in the Southern District of New York, may schedule another hearing to discuss the recent filings. The court’s decision could set a precedent for handling such serious allegations against high-profile figures in the crypto industry. 

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Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.

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