Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorneys made a final attempt to get him out of prison on Wednesday. They claim that myriad technical issues are preventing the accused scammer from preparing for his upcoming trial behind bars.
The shaggy-haired cryptocurrency mogul’s attorney complained that Bankman-Fried, 31, could not review the evidence in his case because he has yet to receive a court order at the troubled Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, where he has been held since August. received an internet-free laptop. 11.
The former head of collapsed crypto exchange FTX met with his attorneys in Manhattan federal court ahead of his October trial, and the fourth-floor cellblock where they meet does have internet — but the connection is patchy, lamented his lawyers.
“We need his temporary release so that we can adequately prepare for the trial,” Bankman-Fried’s attorney Mark Cohen said during an hour-long telephone interview.
Judge Lewis Kaplan did not immediately rule on Bankman-Fried’s request for release from the notorious federal prison that once housed Jeffrey Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and convicted Nxivm sex cult leader Keith Raniere.
But Kaplan has slammed the disgraced crypto bigwig’s lawyers for making “misleading” claims that the government failed to release the files in the case quickly enough.
“No one, least of all the government, disputes that it would have been better if the documents had been presented earlier, but the allegations or broken promises and missed deadlines are not at all true,” the weary judge said.
After some logistical mix-ups with prison officials, Bankman-Fried’s “air-gap” laptop — outfitted only with Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, and an Adobe platform for file review — arrived at the MDC Wednesday morning, federal prosecutor Danielle Kudla said during the hearing.
Federal authorities say Bankman-Fried also has Internet access at the 500 Pearl Street cellblock, where he can meet with his attorneys twice a week to prepare for the trial over allegations that he stole billions of clients’ funds, who are on the now-defunct FTX to stem losses at a cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund, Alameda Research, which he also owned.
But attorneys for Bankman-Fried claimed on Wednesday that the laptop he could use at the courthouse only had an hour of battery life and that the internet – which prosecutors admitted was “not 5G” – was going on and off .
Court officials with the US Marshals Service also refused to give Bankman-Fried an extension cord to charge the computer on the grounds that it could be used as a weapon, his attorneys said.
“Although these solutions appear to be solutions, they do not work in practice,” Cohen told the court.
The technical complaints are just the latest in a long list of grievances brought by Bankman-Fried’s attorneys since Kaplan revoked her client’s $250 million bail and remanded him earlier this month, after he was accused of revealing the personal diary of his former lover business partner Caroline Ellison to a reporter.
Lawyers have also claimed that prison officials are withholding his ADHD medication and that the cryptocurrency magnate, a vegan, has been “living on bread and water” behind bars because there are no plant-based dining options in prison.
Kaplan has determined that there was likely reason to believe that Bankman-Fried had attempted to tamper with witnesses at least twice since his arrest in January.
Ellison is one of several members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle expected to testify against him in a blockbuster five-week trial.
The judge ordered both sides to report Tuesday on Bankman-Fried’s efforts to gain access to the documents in his case.
Additional reporting by Priscilla DeGregory