FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried's Defense Again Seeks 'Temporary Release' for Trial Preparation
On August 25, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried's attorneys filed a new motion seeking his "temporary release" or, alternatively, requesting that he be allowed to meet with his defense team five days a week based on his right to assist in preparing his defense.
On Friday, the defense team lodged a motion asserting that Bankman-Fried's right to participate in his defense is being violated due to his incarceration in the Metropolitan Detention Center.
This filing stems from the fact that the arrangement allowing Bankman-Fried to meet with his legal team twice a week does not provide adequate means to conduct the required data review.
“As we stated in our previous letter to the Court on August 18, 2023 (ECF No. 210), and state again here, the plan is plainly inadequate and violates Mr. Bankman-Fried’s Sixth Amendment right to participate in preparing his defense and his right to receive effective assistance of counsel”
Lawyers highlighted Bankman-Fried's crucial involvement in the case.
Yet, with a laptop, he can't effectively collaborate or access prior work due to restricted cell block access.
Short laptop battery life and no power outlets hinder charging. Weak internet worked for less than half of both sessions.
The legal team also highlighted a significant concern regarding the volume of information involved.
The attorneys underlined that the cumulative discovery data currently amounts to terabytes, with millions more pages yet to be provided.
"Additionally, we object to the recent disclosure by the Government of an additional 4 million pages of discovery. It is unacceptable for the Government to inundate the defense with millions of pages less than six weeks before the trial."
Furthermore, Bankman-Fried's lawyers expressed frustration that the Government still needs to formulate a plan to deliver the discovery documents to their client at MDC despite his fast-approaching trial date.
To adequately prepare his defense, the defense attorneys said continuous access to an internet-enabled computer is crucial for Bankman-Fried.
Defense Team Seeks Temporary Release to Secure Sam Bankman-Fried's Right to Prepare Defense Amidst Accessibility Constraints
Lawyers are urging Bankman-Fried's temporary release due to the current situation. This would let the former FTX CEO collaborate with the defense team and use the internet at a designated courthouse workspace five days a week.
The goal is to ensure his active participation in his defense. Alternatively, they ask the Court to reconsider and allow him to be present at the proffer rooms at 500 Pearl Street.
He can use an internet-enabled computer provided by his defense counsel to work with his legal team on documents.
The defense counsel will be with him throughout the session and retrieve the laptop when it's done.
Central to their argument is Bankman-Fried's Sixth Amendment right to actively participate in his defense and receive effective legal assistance.
The defense team raised concerns about the ongoing discovery productions by the Department of Justice. They pointed out that prosecutors shared over 4 million new pages of documents just last week.
Due to the overwhelming volume of new evidence, the defense team requests that the Court block any discovery materials produced after July 1. They contend there must be more time to review these materials adequately before the trial.
“Even if Mr. Bankman-Fried were out on bail and had unlimited time to review these documents, it would likely be impossible for him to finish reviewing them by the time of trial.”
The judge instructed prosecutors to respond to the defense's concerns, including an earlier letter outlining one of Bankman-Fried's intended defenses, by Tuesday, August 29. A virtual hearing has also been scheduled for Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. ET to address the discovery issues.