US District Judge Lewis Kaplan received a request from federal prosecutors to modify the bond agreement for Sam Bankman-Fried.
They asserted that the disgraced crypto entrepreneur may have engaged in ‘witness tampering’, as he sent a potential witness against him some encrypted messages.
On Friday, the prosecutors filed a four-page document in which they stated that FTX’s co-founder had attempted to get in touch with FTX US’s general counsel via Signal.
This is an encrypted messaging app and they said that SBF had used it to communicate with the potential witness on January 15th.
The filing only identified him as ‘Witness-1’, it is Ryne Miller who served as the general counsel for FTX US.
According to US prosecutors, Bankman-Fried had said in the email that he wanted to reconnect to see if they could have a constructive relationship.
He had also said that he wanted to see if they could function as resources for each other, or vet things at least.
The prosecutors also asserted that Bankman-Fried has also made attempts to get in touch with other former and current employees of FTX.
They said that his intention of ‘vetting’ things with Miller shows that he is trying to influence the witnesses’ testimony.
Therefore, the prosecutors requested in the filing that Bankman-Fried should be prevented from contacting current and former employees of both his companies, FTX as well as Alameda Research.
They said that he should have a lawyer when he makes contact, or should obtain the government’s permission before doing so.
Prosecutors noted that this kind of restriction is not uncommon before a trial. The filing also requested that SBF not be allowed to use any ephemeral or encrypted messaging or call app, including Signal, but not just limited to it.
Prosecutors asserted that banning Bankman-Fried from using communication channels that allow encryption would prevent the obstruction of justice.
This is because Caroline Elison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, who is cooperating with the authorities after pleading guilty to financial crimes, said that SBF was aware of the feature of automatic deletion on these apps.
Elison had revealed to prosecutors that Bankman-Fried had told her that a lot of legal cases change because of documentation and building a case is more difficult when information is not preserved or written down.
This would not be the first time that a change would be made to Bankman-Fried’s bond agreement. He had been prohibited from transferring or accessing FTX and Alameda Research earlier this month.
The request had been made at his arraignment when he had pled not guilty to the eight charges filed against him.
A letter had been submitted on Saturday by Bankman-Fried’s attorneys in which they opposed the request of the prosecutors.
The lawyers outlined a different set of restrictions that they believed were more suitable in terms of communications of SBF.
The letter said that the government’s request is unworkable because SBF would not be able to speak to his therapist as well, who is also a former FTX employee.