- Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have asked a US judge to limit witness comments before his October trial.
- The defence claims that a New York Times piece unfairly slandered Bankman-Fried while rewarding Caroline Ellison.
In a legal maneuver that has raised eyebrows in the financial and cryptocurrency world, FTX‘s CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, is seeking a comprehensive gag order to apply to all witnesses involved in an ongoing legal dispute.
The move has drawn attention and speculation from industry experts as it has the potential to impact the transparency and openness of the case
On July 20, the U.S. government sought a gag order against Bankman-Fried, accusing him of attempting to tarnish the reputation of a former business partner and witness, Caroline Ellison, through an interview with the New York Times.
In response to the government’s request, Bankman-Fried’s legal representatives from Cohen & Gresser LLP issued a letter on July 22, refuting the allegations but agreeing to comply with the gag order.
A gag order is a legal mandate issued by a court to limit the dissemination of information to unauthorized parties. In this specific case, Bankman-Fried will be restricted from making any public statements that could potentially influence the jury pool by divulging confidential information that might discredit a government witness.
Upon accepting the gag order, Bankman-Fried’s legal team advocated for its application to be extended to all parties and witnesses who may be involved in his criminal trial.
“We respectfully request that such relief, though granted for Mr. Bankman-Fried, should be equally applicable to all ‘parties and witnesses’ encompassing the U.S. government, former employees of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, FTX Debtor entities, Alameda Research, and any other potential witnesses associated with this case,” stated the attorneys.
The request was explained by the solicitors, who noted that one of the main offenders in the “toxic media environment” that has surrounded their client since the collapse of the exchange was FTX CEO John Ray.
“Most notably, the current CEO of the FTX Debtor entities, John J. Ray III, who has routinely (and gratuitously) attacked and vilified Mr. Bankman-Fried in his public comments and filings in the FTX bankruptcy proceedings,” they claimed.
The law firm contended that the U.S. government was engaging in a double standard by promoting numerous articles aimed at damaging SBF’s reputation. This formed the underlying rationale behind their plea for an identical gag order to be imposed on SBF.