The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), accusing him of leaking private papers related to Caroline Ellison, his one-time business associate and romantic partner.
In a new complaint filed on July 20, the DOJ accused Bankman-Fried of attempting to interfere with a fair trial by publicly discrediting Ellison, who had become a government witness in the SBF case in late 2022.
The SBF attempted to publicly discredit a government witness by sharing personal writings with a reporter so that those private documents could be included in an article published by the New York Times on July 20, US attorney Damian Williams argued in the lawsuit.
In her journal, Alison described feeling overwhelmed by her job at Alameda Research, among other things such as the pain of her romantic breakup with SBF and her professional insecurities.
Although the article did not specify who provided the documents to the NYT, “it is clear” that the documents were shared by Bankman-Fried, Williams said. He wrote:
“When the government learned this week that the article was coming, defense counsel confirmed that the defendant had personally met with one of the article’s authors and shared documents with him that were not part of the government’s discovery materials.”
The attorney further stated that based on excerpts from the article, the documents “do not appear to be related to the search material in the case, but likely came from the defendant’s personal Google Drive account.”
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Williams further wrote that the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure prohibit attorneys and their agents from disclosing nonpublic information that could interfere with due process. Therefore, the government is asking the court to issue an order as per Local Rule 23.1, prohibiting “extrajudicial statements of parties and witnesses” that may interfere with the right to a fair trial by an impartial jury. Williams said:
“The publication of a story in a reputable newspaper with a worldwide readership without identifying the defendant as the source gives a misleading statement of legitimacy to what would otherwise be naked advocacy, increasing the risk of contamination of future jurors.”
Cointelegraph contacted defense attorneys for the DOJ and SBF, but did not receive an immediate response. This article will be updated until new information becomes available.
Once a major global cryptocurrency exchange, FTX collapsed in mid-November 2022, an event likely triggered by a liquidity crisis for the company’s token, FTT. Some industry observers attributed the collapse to the huge bear market of 2022 as well as deeper issues related to the relationship between FTX and Alameda.
Subsequently, after the collapse of SBF’s crypto empire, at least seven lawsuits were filed against him till early December 2022. The former FTX CEO is due to appear in court on October 2 on a range of charges including fraud, claims of illegal political donations and bribing the Chinese government.
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