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FTX founder denies witness tampering, lawyers say it’s wrong to seek detention

Collapsed FTX founder, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), has denied allegations of witness tampering.

Failed FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has denied that he tampered with a witness after he was accused of sharing excerpts of his ex-girlfriend’s dairy with the New York Times.

FTX founder denies allegations

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has told US District Judge Lewis Kaplan that prosecutors mischaracterized his intentions in sharing his colleague and former partner, Caroline Ellison, private writing with the New York Times.

His lawyer, Mark Cohen wrote to the judge that giving the excerpts to NYT was not to taint the jury pool or intimidate Caroline Ellison, who’s set to testify against the FTX founder in October, when his trial will begin.

“Mr. Bankman-Fried’s contact with the New York Times reporter was not an attempt to intimidate Ms. Ellison or taint the jury pool,” Cohen, wrote in the letter. “It was a proper exercise of his rights to make fair comment on an article already in progress.”Bankman-Fried, 31, has pleaded not guilty to stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to plug losses at his hedge fund Alameda Research, where Ellison was chief executive.”

Bankman-Fried has been free on a $250M personal recognizance bond since his extradition from the Bahamas. He’s been charged with defrauding investors and diverting millions of dollars in customers’ funds from their intended purpose.

Prior to FTX’s demise in November of last year, the witness, Caroline Ellison, who was the CEO of the FTX-affiliated cryptocurrency trading hedge fund Alameda Research, had an on-and-off romantic involvement with Bankman-Fried.

Ellison entered a guilty plea in December to criminal charges that could have resulted in a 110-year prison sentence. She has consented to testify against Bankman-Fried in exchange for a possible concession.

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Lawyers insist that there is no need to revoke bail

The FTX founder’s lawyers have argued that there’s no need to revoke the disgraced founder’s bail.

His defence said in the letter that the Department of Justice’s motion to revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail and detain him was “thin factual evidence, unsupported inferences, and assumptions.”

According to the letter made by SBF’s lawyer: “Defendants have a right to talk to the press about their case to influence their public image and try to protect their reputation, as long as the communications are not calculated to pervert the course of justice.”

In an affidavit to Judge Kaplan, Laurence Tribe, a Harvard University constitutional law professor, said Bankman-Fried had a right to “avoid projecting a false image of someone who is media-shy or, worse, someone whose consciousness of guilt makes him shun the media.”

When Judge Kaplan will rule is unknown but the FTX founder’s lawyers have insisted that barring him from accessing internet-enabled devices may be detrimental to preparation for his trial.

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