Prosecutors Want to Stop Bankman-Fried Contacting Witnesses

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  • Federal prosecutors have filed to have Sam Bankman-Fried’s bond agreement changed so he can’t contact potential witnesses
  • Bankman-Fried has been trying to contact witnesses through the messaging app Signal
  • Prosecutors want him barred from doing so, saying contact may influence their testimony

Federal prosecutors have filed to have Sam Bankman-Fried’s bond agreement changed so he can’t contact potential witnesses. Bankman-Fried was caught trying to contact FTX’s counsel Ryne Miller and other former FTX and Alameda employees over Signal, which prosecutors allege could be an effort to influence their testimony, an extremely serious offense and one that Bankman-Fried would do well to avoid being caught up in. His counsel rejected the demand on Saturday, saying such a plan was “simply unworkable”.

Bankman-Fried Wanted to “Vet Things” with FTX Counsel

Bankman-Fried is preparing his defense for this trial, which starts in October, but some of the time has clearly been spent trying to build relationships with those outside his current sphere. Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried contacted Miller by email and Signal to say that he would “love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other.”

This, it alleges, represents an effort to “influence Witness-1’s (Miller’s) potential testimony”, and adds that the disgraced former FTX CEO has also been contacting “other current and former FTX employees”, saying that his use of Signal is “consistent with a history of using the application for obstructive purposes”. As a result, they want him barred from being able to contact current or former employees of FTX and Alameda, unless through government exemption or in the presence of his lawyer, and that he is banned from using “any encrypted or ephemeral call or messaging application”, such as Signal.

Many “Legal and Logistical Issues” with Government Approach

Bankman-Fried’s lawyer opposed the motion on Saturday, arguing that his client had already tried publicly to contact the individuals he tried to contact on Signal so it was not a secret matter, and that there are “many legal and logistical issues” with the government’s approach. In turn, they have suggested that Bankman-Fried be banned from contacting a list of specific witnesses, including Caroline Ellison, GaryWang, and those he had already tried to contact.

A ruling on the motion is expected this week.