With the trial date for Sam Bankman-Fried fast approaching his defense team has voiced new concerns.
In a motion submitted last Friday, they detailed the challenging conditions under which Bankman-Fried is preparing his defense.
The motion advocates for Bankman-Fried’s “temporary release.” If this isn’t achievable, they’re requesting, at a minimum, a setup that permits him to meet with his attorneys five days a week.
The defense emphasizes their client’s need to access essential online documents, insisting that the disgraced crypto founder is the only one who has complete knowledge of the companies and facts in question.
There’s “no substitute for his work on the defense,” reads the motion.
Before his bail was revoked, Bankman-Fried was investing “between 80-100 hours weekly,” meticulously reviewing the discovery and regularly updating detailed analyses to liaise with his attorneys, the motion says.
However, Judge Lewis Kaplan’s current directives confine him to a mere six hours of laptop usage daily, for only two days a week, at the 500 Pearl Street courthouse.
The judge revoked Bankman-Fried’s bond earlier this month, based on allegations that he had tampered with witnesses on two separate occasions, violating his bail conditions.
Bankman-Fried can’t log in
The request to leave the prison to aid the discovery process stems from several purported technical limitations.
Bankman-Fried’s legal team cites the “restricted battery life, the absence of a power outlet for charging in the cell block, and a frail internet connection that was down for a significant portion of the two sessions.”
Additionally, they pointed out Bankman-Fried’s inability to access his Google Docs, where he had stored prior defense-related work.
The defense team criticized the government’s late-stage release of a substantial amount of new discovery, questioning the feasibility of reviewing it before the trial.
“The defense objects to the government’s last-minute release of over 4 million pages of documents from SBF’s Google accounts,” the motion reads. “Even if he were out on bail with unlimited review time, completing a review before the trial seems unattainable.”
Under the supervision of his defense counsel, he would be able to use an internet-enabled computer for document scrutiny and collaboration. The defense team has committed to overseeing the entire process and ensuring the laptop’s security after each session.
In light of these concerns, the judge has instructed the prosecutors to respond to the defense’s letter, as well as another earlier letter outlining one of Bankman-Fried’s defense strategies, by Tuesday, August 29.
A virtual hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. ET to delve into the discovery issues.
Bankman-Fried’s trial, where he is up against seven distinct charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and commodities fraud, is set to kick off in early October.
Additionally, a subsequent trial is slated for March 11, 2024, where he will defend himself against six more charges.
The disgraced FTX CEO intends to plead not guilty to all thirteen charges.