Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, may have his bail revoked following an accusation of attempted witness tampering.
During a hearing on Feb. 16, Judge Lewis Kaplan stated that there was probable cause to believe that Bankman-Fried had committed or attempted to commit a federal felony while on release, namely witness tampering.
This statement implies that the FTX founder could be sent back to jail until his trial in October. However, the hearing was not a bail revocation hearing, and Kaplan added that it “could get there, conceivably.”
The prosecution has asked Judge Kaplan to further restrict Bankman-Fried’s device usage to a single monitored computer and cellphone.
Prosecutors have pointed to Bankman-Fried’s recent device usage as a cause for concern, seeking to further restrict and monitor his usage “with limited exceptions.”
Judge Kaplan suggested that it was naive to believe that these restrictions would stop him from using the internet, given that Bankman-Fried is living with his two parents, who both have laptops and cellphones.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that they need him to be able to work on his defense, claiming: “We cannot go through these extensive financial records without him.”
The former FTX CEO has been prohibited from using certain messaging apps since February 9, after he was found to have contacted potential witnesses. He was also temporarily banned from using a VPN after prosecutors accused him of using it on two occasions, on January 29 and February 12.
Many in and out of the crypto community have expressed disbelief that Bankman-Fried is yet to have his bail revoked under the circumstances. Law professor Richard Painter warned Bankman-Fried in a tweet that witness tampering while out on bail is a great way to go right back to jail.
Judge Kaplan also suggested that revoking Bankman-Fried’s bail could eliminate the risks associated with his device usage.