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Sam Bankman-Fried’s Legal Team Seeks Pre-Trial Release Due to Poor Prison Internet

Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal representation is once again pushing for a pre-trial release on the grounds of inadequate internet access in the federal detention facility where he’s being held.

In a recent document presented to a federal judge this past Friday, the defense team for Bankman-Fried stressed that the lack of proper internet connectivity is impeding their client’s ability to go over documents vital to his defense.

The defense has raised concerns about the diminished preparation time for trial due to the conditions in the detention center which they believe are hampering their defense strategy.

The government had previously given assurances to Bankman-Fried’s legal team, indicating that he would be granted laptop access on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, according to the defense, this commitment has not been honored in practice.

On September 1, Sam Bankman-Fried’s (often referred to as SBF) defense preparation was disrupted when he was summoned back to his cell at 2:30 p.m. for a headcount. This interruption resulted in a loss of four crucial hours of case preparation.

Furthermore, on September 6, another disruption occurred when SBF was not allowed out of his cell until 11 a.m., further curtailing his preparation time.

Beyond these specific incidents, there seems to be an ongoing issue with internet access. According to his legal team, SBF encountered significant difficulties even with basic tasks such as uploading a single document to the database designated for discovery material. This was just one of many issues emphasizing the insufficiencies of the current setup.

SBF’s lawyers highlighted in their statement, “In spite of the government’s attempts to ameliorate the situation, the internet access problem within the cellblock remains unresolved. With these prevailing constraints, it’s infeasible for the defendant to adequately prepare for his trial.”

Bankman-Fried’s Defense Preparation Becomes Hard

The defense’s effort to prepare for the FTX case has been fraught with challenges, primarily because of the vast amount of material involved.

On August 28, federal prosecutors handed over an overwhelming number of documents, totaling approximately four million pages. Given the immense volume, the defense expressed concerns about their ability to go through everything, mentioning that even if they had “endless review time,” the task would still be daunting. This is especially pressing considering the anticipated start date for the first trial on October 3.

Before his detention, Bankman-Fried had the relative luxury of preparing for his defense from his parent’s residence in Palo Alto, California, although there were certain limitations imposed on his internet usage.

However, this setup changed when he was taken into federal custody on August 11 at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Manhattan. The apprehension was prompted by concerns surrounding potential witness interference.

Later in August, in an attempt to navigate the constraints and ensure effective trial preparation, his legal team petitioned for a temporary release. This would have enabled Bankman-Fried to collaborate directly with his defense team at the federal courthouse in Manhattan.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s defense team pointed out the significant challenges their client faced in preparing for his defense, specifically highlighting issues like unreliable internet access and limited battery life. They stressed that these constraints made it imperative for him to be released from incarceration to adequately prepare for trial.

However, during a court hearing, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York was not convinced by the arguments and chose not to approve the release.

Undeterred, the defense team made another attempt on September 5, formally submitting another request for a pre-trial release. They reiterated the challenges Bankman-Fried faced due to the conditions within the detention center.

In a counter-argument, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) defended the facilities provided to the FTX founder. They contended that Bankman-Fried had adequate access to a laptop computer for defense purposes.

Further, in an attempt to address the defense’s concerns about internet speed, the prosecutors provided data suggesting that the connectivity ranged between 7.5 Mbps to 34 Mbps throughout the day. They argued that this speed was competent enough to support most internet-based activities required for review.

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