Judge mulls gag order as lawyers confirm Bankman-Fried leaked diary

Quick Take

  • If approved by the judge, Bankman-Fried would not be able to talk with media. 

A federal judge will soon decide whether or not former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried should be banned from talking publicly about his case after the U.S. Department of Justice accused him of leaking the private diary of a former colleague to the media. 

In an order filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York on Monday, parties would not be allowed to talk about the case, and Bankman-Fried could not cause others, including family members, to make statements on his behalf. 

“The parties in this case, their attorneys, and their agents are prohibited from publicly disseminating or discussing with any public communications media anything about the case which could interfere with a fair trial, including statements about the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses, information that has not been deemed admissible at trial, and statements intended to influence public opinion regarding the merits of this case,” the proposed order states. 

Counsel for Bankman-Fried agreed that the FTX founder would not talk publicly but said it should be applied to “all parties and witnesses” including FTX, Alameda Research and current FTX CEO John Ray, according to a letter filed over the weekend in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

Notably, the order would not ban Bankman-Fried from asserting his innocence. 

The order would need to be approved by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan and will be discussed in court on Wednesday. 

The diary 

The proposed order comes just days after the Justice Department accused Bankman-Fried of leaking the private diary of Caroline Ellison to the New York Times in an apparent attempt to discredit her. Ellison ran FTX's sister trading company Alameda Research and pleaded guilty to multiple charges last year. 

Bankman-Fried’s counsel said he “did nothing wrong” in a letter filed on July 22. 

“A reporter contacted Mr. Bankman-Fried and asked if he wanted to respond to an article about Ms. Ellison that had been in process for months, for which the reporter already had other sources, and which was about to be published," the letter stated.

Mr. Bankman-Fried spoke to the reporter and shared certain documents that he had obtained prior to his arrest, and that were not produced in discovery, in an effort to give his side of the story about topics that have already been reported in the media,” it continued.

Bankman-Fried faces over 100 years in prison if he is convicted of a slew of charges, including fraud over allegations that he and other FTX executives used billions in customer assets to make their own failed investments. FTX filed for bankruptcy late last year. 

Disclaimer: The former CEO and majority shareholder of The Block has disclosed a series of loans from former FTX and Alameda founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

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