A federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has proposed an order barring all parties involved and their attorneys from all contact with the media.
In a July 24 letter filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Lewis Kaplan drafted an order prohibiting persons directly involved in a case or their representatives from “publicly disseminating or discussing” information deemed impermissible in court or “intended to influence public opinion.” As part of his $250 million bail, Bankman-Fried is already barred from using technology such as messaging apps and virtual private networks.
The proposed order follows a complaint filed July 20 by the US Department of Justice alleging that the former FTX CEO committed wrongdoing. leaked Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison’s personal diary for The New York Times. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said in court filings on July 23 that “nothing inappropriate or unacceptable has happened.”
Under its current language, the proposed order would personally prohibit the SBF from using “agents, family members, spokespeople, agents or volunteers” to speak on its behalf, it added. However, he is not prohibited from speaking to the media about information already available in public court filings or proceedings, or about his innocence claim.
Related: Sam Bankman-Fried’s brother was planning to buy an island and prepare for the apocalypse: Court petition
Ellison, SBF’s former business associate and lover, will reportedly testify in the first criminal trial, which is scheduled to begin on October 2. In December 2022, she pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges related to the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
SBF’s attorneys had asked Judge Kaplan to extend the media silence order to include potential witnesses in the criminal case, including current FTX CEO John Ray. The July 24 order does not appear to apply to witnesses. Since FTX filed for bankruptcy in November 2022, Ray has frequently spoken to various media outlets on various topics related to the exchange.
magazine: Can Cryptocurrency Exchanges Be Trusted After FTX Crash?