DOJ Confirms Replacement of Sam Bankman-Fried's Laptop Battery

Police & Regulations
Sep 6, 2023 at 04:33 pm

Sam Bankman-Fried, a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency industry in the past, is currently entangled in disputes with prosecutors regarding his laptop access while detained. As the co-founder of the now-defunct FTX exchange, he has been given substantial digital resource access, a fact highlighted in a joint letter submitted on Tuesday.

Responding to a federal judge's request for a report on Bankman-Fried's detention conditions at the Manhattan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) outlined the extent of his digital privileges. According to the DOJ, Bankman-Fried now has access to a laptop seven days a week and possesses three hard drives containing defense materials that are available at all times.

Bankman-Fried's defense team has argued for his release from detention, claiming that it is crucial for him to collaborate effectively on his legal defense. They have cited issues such as poor internet connectivity and limited battery life, which they assert hinder his ability to adequately prepare for his forthcoming criminal trial scheduled for the next month.

Following a virtual hearing the previous week, Judge Lewis Kaplan instructed the involved parties to compile a report addressing these concerns. In their submission on Tuesday, prosecutors detailed the improvements made to Bankman-Fried's access conditions. He is now provided with an air-gapped laptop for 11 hours on weekdays and 7.5 hours on weekends and holidays. Moreover, Bankman-Fried can access hard drives containing defense materials at any time.

Twice a week, he is granted access to an internet-enabled laptop. Although concerns about battery life and a weak internet connection had been previously raised by the defense, the letter stated that the defense team had provided a new battery with approximately 8 hours of life. The internet speed has also been reported to fluctuate between 7.5 megabits per second (mbps) and 34 mbps throughout the day, a range that the DOJ contends is adequate for most internet-related tasks.

Bankman-Fried has been in custody since mid-August, when Judge Kaplan revoked his bail due to multiple alleged attempts to interfere with witnesses. His defense team has filed an appeal against the bail revocation, asserting that his detention infringes upon his Sixth Amendment right to actively participate in his own defense.

Mark Cohen, the attorney representing Bankman-Fried, reiterated these claims in a separate letter published concurrently with this article. Cohen argued that the government had not devised a practical plan to address the technology-related challenges and requested the court to temporarily release his client.

Prosecutors, however, have countered the defense team's depiction of these technological hurdles, asserting that they are inconvenient but do not incapacitate Bankman-Fried.

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