On Tuesday, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) said that Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the embattled co-founder of the defunct FTX crypto exchange, has been given sufficient time and resources to review discovery materials for the case against him.
Bankman-Fried is set to begin his trial in early October, where he faces seven counts of fraud-related offenses. On August 11, the former FTX CEO was ordered to await trial behind bars after US District Judge Lewis Kaplan found him guilty of evidence tampering.
Sam Bankman-Fried Has This Priveledges
On Tuesday, 5th of September, the US Department of Justice responded to Judge Lewis Kaplan’s order for a report on Sam Bankman-Fried’s status in the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC). According to the prosecutors’ letter, the defendant has access to an air-gapped laptop at a visiting room for specific hours on weekdays and weekends.
The letter submitted by the DOJ read:
Since August 31, 2023, the defendant has had the ability to review electronic discovery at the MDC with an air-gapped laptop that is available in the legal visiting room 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday through Sunday and holidays.
Furthermore, the prosecutors claimed that there had been no reported issues with the functionality of the USB ports and software applications used so far and other technological components from the laptop. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Detention Center has approved using a second air-gapped laptop, which can be kept in an area adjacent to his housing unit “for increased convenience.”
Based on the DOJ’s report, three internet speed tests were conducted at different times in the cell block area where SBF uses the internet. These tests revealed that the download transfer rate was recorded at 34 Mbps in the morning and early afternoon.
Meanwhile, the download transfer rate was reported at 7.5 Mbps in the late afternoon – slower than earlier. However, the prosecutors claim this network condition is still “sufficient for most internet review activities.”
SBF’s Lawyers Objections To The Current System
Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team expressed dissatisfaction with the current arrangement in a September 5 letter to Judge Kaplan. The attorneys argued that the defendant would not have a “meaningful opportunity to prepare his defense even with the current system.”
The lawyers explained a specific incident that occurred in detention:
Friday, September 1, 2023, was the first day Mr. Bankman-Fried could work a full day with his materials at the MDC. But contrary to the plan, MDC staff told Mr. Bankman-Fried that he had to leave the visiting room at around 2:30 p.m. and return to his unit for the count. This deprived him of 4.5 hours of possible work time.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal counsel stated that losing four hours daily doesn’t align with the Government’s original arrangement. The lawyers then used the opportunity to press for Sam Bankman-Fried’s temporary release from detention.