FTX’s Bankman-Fried could ‘conceivably’ get bail revoked, says judge

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Freed “probably” could get bail revoked after a federal judge said there were “probable grounds” to believe he may have been involved in an attempted witness tampering.

At the February 16 hearing on the terms of the Bankman-Fried bail, Judge Lewis Kaplan said there were “probable grounds for believing that he [Bankman-Fried] committed or attempted to commit a federal crime during his release, namely witness tampering” according to to multiple reports.

Kaplan suggested that this could “allegedly” result in the FTX founder being sent back to jail before an October trial date.

Kaplan, however, noted that the February 16 hearing was not a bail release hearing, but added that it “presumably could take place.”

“Why am I being asked to release it into this garden of electronic devices?” Kaplan reportedly said.

Law professor Richard Paynter echoed this sentiment in his February 17 letter. tweetsuggesting that faking witnesses might not be a good idea given his current circumstances:

“Hey Crypto Bro: faking witnesses during bail is a great way to get back in jail.”

On February 15, prosecutors in a letter asked Judge Kaplan to further limit the use of the Bankman-Freed device to one controlled computer and mobile phone.

Prosecutors have cited Bankman-Freed’s recent use of the device as cause for concern, seeking to further restrict and control its use “with a few exceptions.”

During the hearing, Judge Kaplan suggested that it would be naïve to believe these restrictions would prevent him from using the Internet, given that Bankman-Freed lives with his two parents, who both have laptops and mobile phones.

Prosecutor Nicholas Roos apparently agreed, suggesting that there might not be a “great solution”, prompting Kaplan to imply that removing the Bankman-Freed bail could eliminate those risks, noting:

“There is a solution, but no one has proposed it yet.”

However, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that they needed him to be able to work on their defense, stating, “We can’t go through these extensive financial records without him.”

Judge Allows Sam Bankman-Freed’s Bail Bonds to Be Released

The former FTX CEO has been banned from using certain messaging apps since Feb. 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 a VPN twice on January 29 and February 12.

The VPN ban was not renewed at the February 16 hearing.

Many members of the crypto community have expressed disbelief that, under the circumstances, the Bankman-Freed pledge has not yet been revoked.

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