The end of 2019 proved to be quite distressing for the Ethereum developer and the creator of the Wikipedia indexing tool, Wikiscanner, as Griffith got arrested following his controversial Pyongyang visit in North Korea. Prosecutors accused him of conspiracy and wrongfully delivering a speech on how to circumvent the US-imposed sanctions using cryptocurrency and blockchain.
On 30th December 2019, the court approved Griffith’s bail application, which was subject to the receipt of the bail amount of one million US dollars and meeting a few pre-release terms and conditions. In order to put together the hefty bail amount, Griffith’s family had to sell their home and await approval from the co-signers after the property was placed as collateral.
Unfortunately, the ordeal did not end there. On 7th January 2020, the ill-famed American programmer was formally indicted for allegedly breaching the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which essentially forbids US citizens from circulating information, goods, and services to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea without written approval from the Treasury.
Better late than never – Virgil Griffith freed on bail
However, a day after the indictment, the Inner City Press posted a tweet that contained the image of the official release bond, co-signed by Griffith himself, along with Deputy Clerk of Court and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Wirshba. The news outlet claims that the release forms were, in fact, signed by his parents much earlier, on 6th January 2020, which leaves many to wonder why he was held up for the additional three days.
Meanwhile, the lawyer representing Virgil Griffith in court, Brian Klein, said that there was no need for an official indictment in the first place. If his bail was approved and terms and conditions were met, what was the need for him be to be locked up for ten more days, Klein argued. He further confirmed that the defendant is going to question this decision aggressively and put forth all the facts and details at the time of trial.
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