Lawyers representing former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as ‘SBF’, have requested the court seal documents related to his interviews with a New York Times reporter revealing details about his relationship with Caroline Ellison.
In a July 27 filing in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Bankman-Fried’s legal team said it had provided the court and Department of Justice with documents the former FTX CEO had shown a reporter which led to details in Ellison’s private journals being published. The lawyers requested Judge Lewis Kaplan allow them to file the documents under seal, citing “the need to avoid their public dissemination”.
Prosecutors in the case have pushed for SBF’s $250-million bail to be revoked, claiming he used his freedom to intimidate Ellison — his former romantic partner and colleague — who is expected to offer testimony against the former FTX CEO. News outlet Inner City Press filed a letter of opposition to the request to seal the documents, claiming that any order to do so would be “internally inconsistent”:
“The defendant already gave them to one media outlet. It is akin to the evisceration of a Freedom of Information Act exemption by a record being already publicly available.”
Among the details of Ellison’s journals in the published NYT story included her describing feeling overwhelmed by her position at Alameda Research, and her break up with SBF. It’s unclear what other information, if any, on Bankman-Fried or Ellison might come to light should the judge deny the request to seal.
SBF is currently under a temporary gag order imposed on July 26 which largely prevents him from making any extrajudicial statements related to his criminal case until the determination of arguments on bail. Judge Kaplan will accept arguments from prosecutors on July 28 and from Bankman-Fried’s legal team on Aug. 3 regarding his bail conditions, which could lead to him being detained until his October trial.
Prosecutors told Judge Kaplan on July 27 they expected to drop the charge concerning violations of campaign finance against SBF due to the conditions of an extradition agreement with The Bahamas. The former FTX CEO still faces 12 criminal counts, which will be spread across two trials scheduled for October 2023 and March 2024.