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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is currently evaluating his discovery materials in prison. However, his lawyers have claimed that prison protocols hamper productivity in the discovery process.
Bankman-Fried had previously complained about lockup conditions in prison, with lawyers pushing for his temporary release on weekdays.
Prison Environment Impeding Discovery
Lawyers representing Sam Bankman-Fried have once again aired grievances that the prison environment significantly hampers productivity in his discovery process. A recent court filing has shown that frequent interruptions led to constant disturbances during Bankman-Fried’s discovery process, which is being done in prison. Reports have indicated that Bankman-Fried feels overwhelmed by the increasing volume of evidence piling up against him. Lawyers had disputed the last-minute dump of millions of pages of evidence. They argued that such a large volume of pages being dumped on the defense could adversely impact SBF’s chances for a fair trial.
“The government cannot be allowed to dump millions of pages on the defense less than six weeks before trial.”
No Internet And Frequent Disruptions
Sam Bankman-Fried is allowed to use an air-gapped laptop between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on weekdays. However, weekends are far more restricted, with Bankman-Fried allowed to access the laptop only between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Since the laptop is air-gapped, it cannot connect to other devices. However, his legal team has documented the disruptions that the prison staff has caused during the time SBF can access the laptop.
One of the major complaints raised by SBF and his lawyers is the interruptions experienced in the legal visiting room, thanks to prison protocol. Prison staff have repeatedly requested that Bankman-Fried return to his cell for standard procedures such as a prisoner count. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have claimed that this has taken over 7.5 hours over three days. Bankman-Fried stated that one roll call led to a 50% time loss. The filing stated,
“The defendant was informed by MDC staff that he had to leave the legal visiting room at 2:30 p.m. and return to his unit for the prisoner count, which deprived him of approximately 4.5 hours of additional review time.”
Previous Complaints About Prison Conditions
Bankman-Fried has previously complained about prison conditions as well, with his legal team requesting temporary release on weekdays. The FTX founder’s staggering $250 million bond was revoked on the 11th of August after the leak of Caroline Ellison’s private diary and details about inappropriate liaisons with former FTX colleagues. The judge presiding over the case saw this as witness-tampering and revoked the bond. Since then, Bankman-Fried has been held at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, allegedly one of the worst prisons in New York City.
Bankman-Fried’s legal team has requested that he be released on weekdays, stating that the confines of prison are too restrictive and do not allow him the conditions needed to prepare for his upcoming trial. The lawyers also argued that he would be unable to access and review new evidence for his pending trial.
“Just last week, the government produced three-quarters of a million pages of Slack communications, which were supposed to be produced months ago, that Mr Bankman-Fried will have no hope of reviewing under this schedule.”
Bankman-Fried has also complained about a lack of food and medication at the prison.
Temporary Release Not An Option
While Bankman-Fried’s legal team has pushed for temporary release on weekdays, Judge Kaplan has balked at the suggestion. Instead, the judge asked that they come up with alternative solutions. One solution put forward was to provide documents on hard drives which could be delivered to the prison. This proposal was rejected. A second option was to transfer Bankman-Fried to a smaller prison that offered supervised internet access. However, the prosecution and prison officials both opposed this proposition.
For the moment, SBF will remain at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center until further review.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.