DOJ seeks to narrow Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail terms, use only flip phones

The United States Department of Justice has proposed new bail conditions for former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), a court filing made late March 3 shows

According to the proposal submitted to District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York, Bankman-Fried should be prohibited from using smartphones, tablets, computers and any type of video game platforms or devices that allow chat and voice communication. The proposal restricts his communication to “a flip phone or other non-smartphone with either no internet capabilities or internet capabilities disabled.”

The document by attorney Damian Williams “on behalf of parties” also requests that the temporary bail conditions recently imposed should be made permanent. The plan is believed to have been negotiated with his defense team, which requested to submit a proposal by March 3.

The temporary terms include no contact or communication with current or former employees of FTX or Alameda Research, except in the presence of counsel, along with a prohibition of using any encrypted or ephemeral call or messaging application, as well as a VPN. 

Bankman-Fried’s access to websites would also be restricted to a whitelist of pre-approved pages, which includes YouTube, Wikipedia, Etherscan, NFL, DoorDash, Netflix, and government websites, among others. Under the proposed terms, the former FTX CEO will be allowed to visit news websites as well, including Cointelegraph.

Further, Bankman-Fried’s laptop would be monitored by a security software that will log his online activity. In addition, the proposal notes that:

“​​Fifth, the defendant will not object to the installation of court-authorized pen registers on his phone number, Gmail account, and internet service. Those pen register orders will be sought by the Government and maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” 

Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail has been under scrutiny since Feb. 9, after he was found to have contacted potential witnesses on his case. He was also temporarily banned from using a VPN after prosecutors accused him of using it on two occasions, on Jan. 29 and Feb. 12.

The court unsealed a superseding indictment against Bankman-Fried on Feb. 22 containing 12 criminal counts, including eight conspiracy charges related to fraud as well as four charges of wire fraud and securities fraud.

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