Since a federal judge revoked Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail in early August and sent him to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, the disgraced FTX founder has been petitioning the court for a pre-trial release, claiming he cannot prepare for his October trial from inside jail.
On Friday, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers filed a new letter with the judge that claims prosecutors have failed to provide the defendant with the computer resources necessary for him to parse millions of pages of material related to the stunning collapse of the crypto exchange last November.
The Department of Justice filed charges against Bankman-Fried in December, with the crypto founder agreeing to extradition from his residence in the Bahamas, where FTX had its headquarters. A judge granted bail to Bankman-Fried, agreeing to let him live with his parents in Palo Alto.
The conditions of the bail soon proved contentious, with Bankman-Fried reaching out to key FTX figures in an alleged attempt to tamper with witnesses, as well as using a VPN to watch football games. After he leaked the private diary of FTX executive—and his one-time girlfriend—Caroline Ellison to a New York Times reporter in July, the judge revoked Bankman-Fried’s bail and sent him to the detention center in Brooklyn.
Because of the complex nature of the case, which ranges from alleged wire fraud to campaign finance violations to money laundering, Bankman-Fried’s trial will include millions of pages of evidence, which prosecutors have spent the past months collecting and sharing with his attorneys. Bankman-Fried’s team has argued that he has not had adequate internet access to the discovery to be able to prepare his defense, which is a constitutional right.
The two sides have haggled over Bankman-Fried’s access to computers. This has included disputes over battery life, and terms for transporting him to the courthouse two days a week to access an internet-enabled laptop. Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the case, ordered the two sides to come to an arrangement at a hearing in late August.
According to the filing on Friday, the measures have fallen short. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers wrote that he has not been able to arrive at the courthouse with enough time because of delays related to other inmates, eliminating hours of review time. In one instance, he was placed in a holding cell without an internet-enabled laptop. In another, the internet connection was so slow on the provided laptop that he was only able to load one document during an hour-and-a-half period.
“The defendant cannot prepare for trial with these kinds of limitations,” his lawyers state in the letter, which also complains he cannot bring food and water to the visitor access room.
While Kaplan said that Bankman-Fried’s team could request a trial postponement at the last hearing, they declined to do so by the recommended deadline. Instead, they are asking the judge for Bankman-Fried’s temporary release. The trial is set to begin on Oct. 3.