On August 11, the bail of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was revoked due to his attempts to contact witnesses in the case and undermine their credibility. Bankman-Fried’s legal representatives have now submitted a request for his pre-trial release, citing a significant hindrance in the form of inadequate internet connectivity while he is incarcerated in a federal jail. They argue that the poor internet connection is impeding their ability to prepare a robust defense and causing unnecessary delays.
This recent court filing, dated September 8, marks the second attempt within the past week to secure Bankman-Fried’s pre-trial release. Earlier, on September 6, an Appellate judge denied his request for immediate release from jail, instead referring the motion to the next three-judge panel for consideration.
The legal team representing Bankman-Fried contends that despite assurances from the government that their client would have access to a laptop on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., these promises have not been fulfilled. They point to several instances where Bankman-Fried’s access to an internet-equipped laptop was abruptly cut short due to jail procedures. One such incident occurred on September 1 when he was called back to his cell for a headcount at 2:30 p.m., resulting in a loss of four hours for defense preparation.
On September 6, Bankman-Fried was not released from his cell until 11:00 a.m., and when he attempted to access the discovery database, a poor internet connection allowed him to review only one document from the database. In their court filing, the legal team emphasized, “Despite the Government’s efforts, there does not appear to be a way to solve the internet access problem in the cellblock. That means that Mr. Bankman-Fried has no way to review and search documents in the discovery database or the AWS database before the trial. The defendant cannot prepare for trial with these kinds of limitations.”
Following his arrest in the Bahamas on December 12 of the previous year, Bankman-Fried was released on a $250 million bond. Subsequently, he spent most of his time confined to his parents’ residence in California. However, his bail was revoked on August 11 after it was discovered that he had attempted to contact and intimidate former FTX executives and witnesses involved in the lawsuit. Since then, Bankman-Fried’s legal team has submitted multiple appeals for pre-trial release. However, judges reviewing these motions have argued that he repeatedly violated bail conditions, thus precluding immediate release.