Sam Bankman-Fried's Defense Lawyers Demand Temporary Release before October Trial

Sam Bankman-Fried’s Defense Lawyers Demand Temporary Release before October Trial

UTC by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
Sam Bankman-Fried’s Defense Lawyers Demand Temporary Release before October Trial
Photo: Depositphotos

SBF’s defense team argued that their client would need a laptop with access to internet to review the long pile of documents produced during the discovery. 

Lawyers representing Sam Bankman-Fried have been demanding his “temporary release” or a relief of five days a week release in order to prepare for the defense trial ahead in October 2023. Last Friday, the defense team submitted a motion asserting that Bankman-Fried isn’t able to contribute to his own defense due to his jails.

This is due to the fact that the necessary documents he needs to review are exclusively available online. SBF’s defense attorney Christian Everdell wrote:

“We do not believe that anything short of temporary release will properly address these problems and safeguard Mr. Bankman-Fried’s right to participate in his own defense. At the very least, however, we respectfully request that the Court reconsider its previous decision and order the Marshals to produce Mr. Bankman-Fried to the proffer rooms at 500 Pearl Street five days a week, where defense counsel can provide him with an internet-enabled computer that will permit him to review, edit, and share documents and work product with his attorneys. Defense counsel will be present with Mr. Bankman-Fried the entire time and will take back the laptop at the end of the session.”

Earlier this month, the court revoked the bond of the FTX founder following a decision by Judge Lewis Kaplan, the presiding judge in the case. Judge Kaplan ruled that Bankman-Fried had made at least two attempts to interfere with witnesses, thus breaching his bail terms. Bankman-Fried’s legal team announced an appeal and sought to prevent his detention during the same hearing in which Judge Kaplan ordered his remand. Subsequently, the matter was brought before Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn last week.

SBF’s lawyers argued that “Bankman-Fried’s Sixth Amendment right to participate in preparing his defense and his right to receive effective assistance of counsel.”

Bankman-Fried’s Defense Lawyers Put Forward the Argument

During Friday’s letter, SBF’s lawyers stated that he needed a laptop to access the internet to review millions of documents produced during the discovery.

Everdell reiterated a similar argument during Bankman-Fried’s recent arraignment, emphasizing the challenge of effectively sharing his work analyses with the defense team. Although Bankman-Fried has access to a laptop while at the federal courthouse in Manhattan, he can only use it for six hours a day for two days a week, as directed by Judge Kaplan.

This is a significant reduction from the “80-100 hours a week” he was previously dedicating. The laptop has limited battery life and the internet connection is weak, as stated in the letter submitted on Friday. Importantly, Bankman-Fried lacks internet or laptop access while confined at the Metropolitan Detention Center. The letter noted:

“Bankman-Fried does not have access to any discovery or work product at the MDC and has not had any such access since he was detained two weeks ago. At the Government’s invitation, we have been sending hard drives to Mr. Bankman-Fried with selected documents and work product for him to review at the MDC. But Mr. Bankman-Fried does not have a laptop at the MDC that he can use to review them. This means that there is almost nothing Mr. Bankman-Fried can do at the MDC to prepare for trial.”

The defense team also raised concerns about the Department of Justice’s continuous release of discovery materials. They noted that prosecutors recently provided over 4 million new pages of documents. They are requesting the judge to issue an order that would halt any discovery submissions after July 1. The defense argues that there isn’t sufficient time to thoroughly review all these documents before the trial.

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