In a memo released late Friday, attorneys representing FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried argued that prosecutors were exaggerating the level of access he had to defense material. The defense claimed that Bankman-Fried still lacked reliable internet access when brought to the cell block at the Southern District of New York courthouse. They also disputed the Department of Justice’s assertion that he had extensive air-gapped computer access.
According to defense attorney Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s defense team had been pushing for his temporary release or increased computer access, citing violations of his Sixth Amendment rights. Prosecutors, on the other hand, maintained that he had been granted access to defense materials after his bail was revoked last month due to concerns about public safety.
Earlier in the week, the DOJ filed a letter stating that Bankman-Fried now had access to multiple hard drives containing defense material, an air-gapped laptop every day, and an internet-enabled laptop with a new battery, all provided by the defense. However, the defense attorneys argued that this plan was not practical, prompting Judge Lewis Kaplan to request a detailed explanation of the inaccuracies.
In the letter submitted on Friday, the defense highlighted the issues they encountered. Bankman-Fried, upon being granted access to an internet-enabled computer at the courthouse on Wednesday, faced poor internet speeds that allowed him to load only a single document during the entire five-hour period. The defense stated that there seemed to be no solution to the internet access problem in the cell block, preventing Bankman-Fried from reviewing and searching documents in the discovery and AWS databases before the trial. They emphasized that such limitations hindered the defendant’s trial preparation.
Furthermore, Cohen noted that Bankman-Fried did not have the full amount of time promised by prosecutors to use an air-gapped computer. The defense expressed concern about the lost time for trial preparation since Bankman-Fried’s remand almost a month ago. They reiterated their request for the court to order his temporary release.