Attorneys working on behalf of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried have agreed to pay for a security expert to assist the federal judge overseeing his fraud case in navigating modern encryption technology to aid in possibly modifying Bankman-Fried’s bail terms.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers Christian Everdell and Mark Cohen sent a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan on Feb. 21 agreeing with his proposal for a technical professional to aid him.
According to the letter, “the defense has already begun researching and contacting possible experts and anticipates being able to propose one or more potential candidates to the court by the end of the week.”
NEW: Just filed today, the defense expects to propose one or more potential candidates to act as an independent technical expert to advise the court on @SBF_FTX‘s bail conditions by the end of the week. pic.twitter.com/WfkF5frBAn
— Eleanor Terrett (@EleanorTerrett) February 21, 2023
Judge Kaplan suggested at a bail hearing last week following a tightening of bail terms when it was discovered that Bankman-Fried had been accessing the internet using a VPN (virtual private network).
A VPN obscures and encrypts a user’s internet traffic and is often used to change internet (IP) addresses, add a layer of security to communications, or access censored content in autocratic regimes.
The judge has been trying to achieve a balance between letting Bankman-Fried access communication channels to prepare his defense and the potential misuse of messaging apps and privacy software.
Judge Kaplan temporarily banned Bankman-Fried from using a VPN or any encrypted messaging apps until his bail terms are settled.
The technical expert will help the judge navigate issues regarding encrypted messages, privacy-focused messaging apps and VPNs.
Bankman-Fried and his attorneys claim he used the VPN on two occasions, to watch the National Football League playoffs on Jan. 29 and to watch the Super Bowl on Feb. 12.
Prosecutors have asked for strict bail terms limiting Bankman-Fried’s access to the internet and messaging platforms. They also alleged that VPN use “raised several potential concerns,” with regard to potential access of crypto platforms that have blocked United States users.