Judge Lewis Kaplan reportedly targeted Sam Bankman-Fried’s internet usage in a hearing aimed at reviewing the former FTX chief executive officer use of a virtual private network, or VPN.
According to a Feb. 16 tweet from NPR correspondent David Gura, Judge Kaplan may have suggested that Bankman-Fried be denied access to any electronic device and the internet as a condition of his bail. Though SBF’s lawyers reportedly said there was no television in Joe Bankman’s and Barbara Fried’s California home – where the former FTX CEO has largely been confined since his arraignment in the United States in December – the judge countered that a “garden of electronic devices” was available with access to the internet.
Bankman-Fried appeared in court for the first time in days to address the legal implications of him using a VPN on Jan. 29 and Feb. 12. SBF’s lawyers claimed he had been watching football on the days in question, but prosecutors said using a VPN raised “several potential concerns.”
Prosecutors suggested restricting Bankman-Fried’s VPN usage as a condition of his bail, as they have with certain messaging apps and contact with current or former FTX and Alameda Research employees. Judge Kaplan reportedly did not expand SBF’s bail conditions to include restrictions on the internet or VPNs in the hearing, but asked his legal team to provide a consultant willing to explain the implications of the technology in court.
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Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin in October, when he will face eight criminal counts including wire fraud and violations of campaign finance law. The debtors in FTX’s bankruptcy case have also issued a subpoena to the former CEO, ordering him to present certain documents and information related to his time at FTX to the court.