Cryptocurrency NewsFederal Judge Proposes Media Gag Order in Sam Bankman-Fried

Federal Judge Proposes Media Gag Order in Sam Bankman-Fried

The proposal for a media gag order comes after U.S. authorities accused Sam Bankman-Fried of leaking Caroline Ellison’s private journals in an effort to interfere with the trial. The federal judge overseeing the case against Bankman-Fried has suggested an order to restrict all parties involved, including their attorneys, from communicating extensively with the media.

In a letter filed on July 24 with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Lewis Kaplan drafted a proposed order that would prevent anyone directly related to the case or acting on their behalf from publicly disseminating or discussing information that is not admissible at trial or intended to sway public opinion. Bankman-Fried is already prohibited from using messaging apps, virtual private networks, and certain technologies as part of his bail conditions, which amount to $250 million.

The proposed order was prompted by a complaint made by the U.S. Department of Justice on July 20, alleging that Bankman-Fried had leaked Caroline Ellison’s private journals to The New York Times. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers refuted these allegations in a court filing on July 23, stating that nothing improper or impermissible had occurred.

As currently worded, the proposed order also includes a personal prohibition for SBF, preventing him from using surrogates, family members, spokespersons, representatives, or volunteers to speak on his behalf. However, the order does not forbid him from talking to the media about information already available in public court filings or proceedings, or claiming innocence.

Caroline Ellison, who was both a former business associate and romantic partner of Bankman-Fried, is expected to provide testimony in his upcoming criminal trial, scheduled to commence on October 2. In December 2022, she pleaded guilty to various charges, including fraud related to the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX. Bankman-Fried, on the other hand, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Bankman-Fried’s legal representatives had requested that Judge Kaplan extend the media gag order to include potential witnesses in the case, such as the current FTX CEO John Ray. However, the order issued on July 24 does not appear to apply to witnesses. Since FTX filed for bankruptcy in November 2022, Ray has frequently spoken to various media outlets on subjects related to the exchange.


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