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Sam Bankman-Fried Accepts Gag Order, Wants FTX CEO John Ray and Government Gagged, Too

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Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX
Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX

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Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried accepted a gag order against him in his criminal fraud trial but asked for the government, new FTX CEO John Ray, and other witnesses to be gagged as well.

The prosecution’s request for Bankman-Fried to be gagged followed its allegations that he leaked the diaries of former FTX colleague Caroline Ellison to the New York Times to undermine her credibility as a witness in his trial.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers wrote in a letter filed yesterday that their client had done nothing wrong and argued that he had the right to counter what it called almost uniformly negative press coverage about him.

“This toxic media environment has been created and fostered in multiple fora by many of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s detractors – 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,’’ they said.

Sam Bankman-Fried Routinely Disparaged by John Ray, Lawyers Say

Still, they accepted the gag order ‘’to avoid further distraction’’ and requested that ‘’all parties and witnesses,’’ including “John Ray’’ and the government, be gagged, too.

The letter said the government was the source of numerous media stories and had touted to the New York Times that ‘’the mountain of evidence ranks among the largest ever collected in a white-collar securities fraud case.’’

It added that John Ray had “routinely made disparaging statements’’ about Bankman-Fried that discredited him. They alleged that Ray’s ‘’repeated ad hominin attacks on Mr. Bankman-Fried’’ had helped create ‘’a toxic media environment that has left Mr. Bankman-Fried with little choice but to respond.’’

Sam Bankman-Fried Spoke to NYT

The lawyers acknowledged that Bankman-Fried had spoken to the New York Times and provided it with documents for an article it published on Thursday entitled, “Inside the Private Writings of Caroline Ellison, Star Witness in the FTX Case.”

But he did that in the context ‘’of this hyper-toxic media environment,’’ they said, adding that the article published last week by the newspaper was overall ‘’favorable to Ms. Ellison and negative towards Mr Bankman-Fried.’’

Crypto exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy late last year.  Ellison has pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to the crypto exchange’s collapse and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution against Bankman-Fried. He has pleaded not guilty.

Ellison was head of FTX’s Alameda Research, and Bankman-Fried has said that he was previously in a relationship with her.

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