Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried agreed to pay for a security expert to help the federal judge overseeing his fraud case navigate technology issues as they seek to keep the FTX founder out of jail before his trial. They hope that the expert’s help will keep their client from having to spend any time behind bars before his day in court.
In a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys agreed with his proposal for a security expert who would work solely for the judge. They said they would propose potential candidates by the end of the week.
At a bail hearing last week, Judge Kaplan suggested Bankman-Fried’s lawyer hire a technical expert to help him navigate issues of encryption, disappearing messages and virtual private networks, or VPN, that have presented challenges. Bankman-Fried’s lawyer is still trying to figure out what Judge Kaplan meant.
The judge has been struggling to find a way to allow Bankman-Fried access to communication channels so he can prepare his defense against the potential misuse of those apps or VPNs. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to multiple fraud and conspiracy charges.
After becoming alarmed that Bankman-Fried had contacted a former FTX employee who is a government witness, prosecutors asked for strict bail conditions limiting the crypto entrepreneur’s use of messaging platforms. Bankman-Fried’s recent use of a VPN has heightened the concerns of her friends and family. Just days after a bail hearing in which the judge expressed concern about the use of encryption, Bankman-Fried used a VPN again. The judge said the outreach could be probable cause to believe Bankman-Fried committed a crime while out on bail.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys have said the contact with the former employee and VPN use was “necessary.” They also told the judge that FTX’s attorneys informed them that they would need to use a VPN to access documents and data that is held on a cloud server.