The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a complaint against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), accusing him of leaking the private papers of Caroline Ellison, who was once his business ally and romantic partner.
In a new complaint filed on July 20, the DoJ accused Bankman-Fried of an attempt to interfere with a fair trial by publicly discrediting Ellison, who became a government witness in SBF’s case in late 2022.
SBF sought to publicly discredit a government witness by sharing her personal writings with a reporter so that those private documents would be featured in an article published by The New York Times on July 20, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams argued in the complaint.
In her diary, Ellison described feeling overwhelmed by her job at Alameda Research, alongside other things like the pain from her romantic break up with SBF and her professional insecurities.
Though the article didn’t indicate who provided the documents to the NYT, it “is apparent” that documents were shared by Bankman-Fried, Williams stated. He wrote:
“When the government learned this week that this article was forthcoming, defense counsel confirmed that the defendant had met with one of the article’s authors in person and had shared documents with him that were not part of the government’s discovery material.”
The attorney went on to say that based on the excerpts in the article, the documents “do not appear to be within the discovery materials in the case, but likely came from the defendant’s personal Google Drive account.”
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Williams then wrote that the U.S. federal rules of civil procedure prohibit lawyers and their agents from releasing non-public information that may interfere with a fair trial. As such, the government requests that the court enter an order, pursuant to Local Rule 23.1, which proscribes “extrajudicial statements by parties and witnesses” that are likely to interfere with the right to a fair trial by an impartial jury. Williams added:
“Having the story appear in a reputable newspaper with a worldwide readership without identifying the defendant as the source lends a misleading patina of legitimacy to what would otherwise be naked advocacy, compounding the risk of tainting prospective jurors.”
Cointelegraph reached out to the DoJ and SBF’s defense attorneys but did not get an immediate response. This article will be updated pending new information.
Once a major global cryptocurrency exchange, FTX collapsed in mid-November 2022 in an event likely triggered by the liquidity crisis of the company’s FTT token. Some industry observers also attributed the collapse to the massive bear market of 2022, as well as deeper issues related to the link between FTX and Alameda.
Subsequently, after SBF’s crypto empire imploded, as many as seven lawsuits were filed against him by early December 2022. The former FTX CEO is due in court on Oct. 2 on multiple charges, including fraud, claims of illegal political donations, and bribes to the Chinese government.
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