Disgraced cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team is making an unusual argument for his release from jail – the abysmally slow jailhouse internet. Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, is currently held without bail in a Brooklyn jail awaiting his fraud trial. His lawyer, Mark Cohen, contends that the sluggish Wi-Fi in the detention facility is impeding their ability to prepare a proper defense.
In a court filing, Mark Cohen outlined several issues related to Sam Bankman-Fried’s internet access while in jail. These concerns include transportation delays and, most notably, the painfully slow Wi-Fi. Cohen argued that the combination of these limitations has made it nearly impossible for Bankman-Fried to adequately prepare for his upcoming trial.
While the Department of Justice has asserted that Bankman-Fried should have access to multiple hard drives, databases, and a laptop with a sufficiently charged battery, his lawyer disagrees with the adequacy of these measures. Cohen stated, “We believe that the current solution is untenable, and we no longer have the time to see if the Government will be able to devise a plan that works.” He expressed frustration that nearly a month had passed since Bankman-Fried’s remand, and the time had been lost due to ineffective trial preparation.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s incarceration at a Brooklyn jail, following allegations of tampering with witnesses while on $250 million bail at his parents’ Palo Alto residence, has raised concerns about jail conditions. Previous complaints, including those from convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, have highlighted troubling aspects beyond just slow Wi-Fi.
This recent request for his release on the grounds of inadequate internet access is the second such request made by Bankman-Fried’s defense within a week. The extensive volume of data that requires review before the trial, which includes millions of pages of documents and terabytes of data, adds to the complexity of the situation.
While it is evident that Bankman-Fried’s legal team is determined to secure favorable treatment, it remains uncertain whether senior US district judge Lewis Kaplan, who remanded him to jail initially over witness tampering allegations, will grant this request.