Bankman-Fried hearing set, but he may stay on the West Coast

The federal judge overseeing the case brought by prosecutors against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said the cryptocurrency trader can remain on the West Coast while his lawyers attend a hearing on Friday.

By means ofLARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press

NEW YORK — The federal judge in charge of the case prosecutors brought against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said Tuesday that the cryptocurrency trader can stay on the West Coast while his lawyers attended a hearing Friday.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan set a pretrial hearing in New York City and denied Bankman-Fried attendance.

Three weeks ago, Kaplan suggested that jailing Bankman-Fried was the best way to keep him from trying to break the rules he must follow under the terms of his $250 million bond. He was allowed to stay with his parents in Palo Alto, California, while he awaited trial.

His communications are a particular area of ​​concern, though lawyers for both sides apparently struck a deal that could be addressed by the judge on Friday.

Prosecutors said in a letter to the judge on Friday that Bankman-Fried’s attorneys agreed that Bankman-Fried may have a flip phone or other non-smartphone that does not have internet capability or that has internet capability. this.

A few weeks ago, prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried accessed the internet twice through a virtual private network, or VPN, which blocks third parties from viewing online activity.

They also said he sent an encrypted message on the Signal texting app in January to FTX US’s general counsel, a move they argued could indicate witness tampering.

With the new proposal, Bankman-Fried’s phone functions will be limited to SMS text messages and voice calls.

He can also access a new laptop with limited usage that will prevent him from whitelisted websites. This includes sites he can use to prepare his defense and others for personal news.

Prosecutors recently stepped up charges against Bankman-Fried, who pleaded not guilty to charges that he defrauded investors and stole customer deposits on FTX, his cryptocurrency platform.

It was unclear whether his attorneys would enter a plea to the new charges Friday.

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