Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, has been charged by federal authorities with leaking Caroline Ellison’s private communication to the New York Times. According to a court order, he must appear for a hearing the following week. Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court reportedly told the parties to prepare to reassess the conditions of Bankman-Fried’s bail.
Federal officials accused Bankman-Fried of perjury after he allegedly revealed Ellison’s personal notes. Attorneys said that Bankman-Fried offered the New York Times access to Ellison’s writings in an email filed to US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan on Thursday in an effort to “interfere with a fair trial by an impartial jury.” In an article titled “Inside the Private Writings of Caroline Ellison, star witness in the FTX Case,” which was published on Thursday, The New York Times made public private diary entries that Caroline Ellison had written in Google Docs.
They allegedly claimed that, in terms of her emotional state, she was “unhappy and overwhelmed” while she was CEO of FTX’s bitcoin hedge fund Alameda Research. She allegedly expressed concerns in the public regarding her judgmental ability and the smooth operation of the business. For her part in the scheme that brought down FTX, Ellison pleaded guilty to several counts of conspiracy and fraud in December.
In the prosecution’s case against Bankman-Fried, who has pled not guilty to eight federal counts of conspiracy and fraud, it is anticipated that she would testify. In their letter to Kaplan, the prosecution claimed that they had been made aware of the article’s impending publication earlier in the week.
They also claimed that Bankman-Fried’s lawyers had acknowledged that their client had spoken with the newspaper and given them documents that weren’t part of the discovery materials. The prosecution’s case against Bankman-Fried was stated by US Attorney Damian Williams in the following way: “By selectively sharing certain private documents with the New York Times, the defendant is attempting to discredit a witness, cast Ellison in a poor light, and advance his defense through the press and outside of the constraints of the courtroom and rules of evidence: that Ellison was a jilted lover who perpetrated these crimes alone.”
“It is absurd and inappropriate,” argued Ellison, “for the defendant to raise questions about Ellison’s credibility prior to trial, particularly with respect to information that the defense has not shown is admissible at trial, much less presented to the government. According to the government, this defense will be useless due to the overwhelming weight of the evidence.
The prosecution is attempting to limit Bankman-Fried’s capacity to make public statements because they fear he may influence the jury and intimidate witnesses. “The effect, if not the intent, of the defendant’s conduct is not only to harass Ellison, but also to deter other potential trial witnesses from testifying,” Williams claimed. This behavior also tarnishes the jury pool. The representative at Bankman-Fried declined to comment. Inquiries sent to The New York Times or a representative for Ellison were not immediately returned.