Hearing Scheduled for Sam Bankman-Fried in New York, But He Can Remain on the West Coast


NEW YORK — On Tuesday, a Federal judge presiding over the case brought against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried ruled that the cryptocurrency entrepreneur can stay on the West Coast while his lawyers attend a hearing in New York City on Friday.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan scheduled the pretrial hearing and excused Bankman-Fried from attending.

Three weeks ago, Kaplan suggested that Bankman-Fried might be jailed if he were unable to meet the $250 million bond requirements. However, he was allowed to reside with his parents in Palo Alto while waiting for the trial.

A concern of the court was his communications. Nevertheless, attorneys from both sides appear to have come to an agreement that could be discussed by the judge on Friday.

In a letter sent to the judge on Friday, prosecutors mentioned that Bankman-Fried’s attorneys had agreed that he should be allowed to have a flip-phone or another non-smartphone that has no internet access or is disabled.

Previously, prosecutors had accused the defendants of involvement in the murder of a woman and claimed that Bankman-Fried used a virtual private network (VPN) twice to access the web. Additionally, he is said to have sent an encrypted message through the Signal texting app in January, which, based on statements from FTX US’ general counsels, might have been evidence of witness tampering.

Under the new proposal, Bankman-Fried’s phone will only be able to make and receive calls and SMS messages.

He could also be given a laptop with limited usage that will restrict him to websites that are whitelisted, such as those he needs to prepare his defense and some personal news sites.

Prosecutors recently upgraded the charges against Bankman-Fried, who pleaded not guilty to charges of defrauding investors and taking customer deposits from his crypto-trading platform, FTX.

It is not yet known if his lawyers will plead guilty to the additional charges.

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