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Prosecutors urge judge to jail Sam Bankman-Fried, saying there are no conditions to stop him from witness tampering

<i>Amr Alfiky/Reuters</i><br/>Indicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the United States Courthouse in New York City
Amr Alfiky/Reuters
Indicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the United States Courthouse in New York City

By Kara Scannell, CNN

(CNN) — Federal prosecutors urged a judge to revoke Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail to stop him from tampering with witnesses before his criminal fraud trial, saying there are likely no conditions that the cryptocurrency entrepreneur will abide by to satisfy their concerns.

“The defendant’s attempts to tamper with witnesses and interfere with the Government’s and public’s right to a fair trial and the due administration of justice, and his pattern of circumventing his bail conditions in that pursuit, demonstrate that no set of pretrial release conditions can adequately assure the safety of the community and that the defendant is unlikely to fully abide by any conditions of release,” prosecutors wrote.

The additional arguments were made in a court filing Friday — following a hearing on Wednesday when prosecutors first asked the judge to detain the co-founder of FTX. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to multiple conspiracy and fraud charges. He is set to go to trial in October.

Prosecutors point to a series of actions taken by Bankman-Fried, including contacting potential witnesses against him, using a virtual private network to subvert monitoring, and speaking with a reporter about former FTX executive Caroline Ellison, who has pleaded guilty and will testify against him.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys argued that he has a right to defend himself and to speak with reporters.

“The defendant’s argument that the defendant did nothing other than exercise his First Amendment rights is a red herring. Witness tampering is not constitutionally protected speech,” prosecutors wrote.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys have until next week to file their response.

The charges against Bankman-Fried stem from what prosecutors have characterized as one of the biggest financial frauds in US history. They say that Bankman-Fried orchestrated a massive scheme, stealing deposits from his cryptocurrency exchange FTX, to finance risky bets at his hedge fund, funnel contributions to American politicians and underwrite a luxury lifestyle for himself and his employees in the Bahamas.

– CNN’s Allison Morrow contributed to this report

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