In a letter to the judge in the criminal fraud case, lawyers for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried denied prosecutors’ accusations that his contacts with a New York Times reporter amounted to witness tampering but agreed to accept a gag order.
The letter, disclosed on Sunday, came as prosecutors sought to prevent Bankman-Fried and his associates from making public statements that could jeopardize the case.
FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange formerly valued at $32 billion filed for bankruptcy protection in November after it was unable to repay depositors. Bankman-Fried has pled not guilty to fraud.
“Bankman-Fried did not violate the protective order in this case, nor did he violate his bail conditions, nor did he violate any law or rule governing his conduct,” Bankman-Fried’s lawyer Mark Cohen said in the letter.
An article titled “Inside the Private Writings of Caroline Ellison, Star Witness in the FTX Case” published by the New York Times reported excerpts from Ellison’s personal Google documents from before the collapse of FTX in which she spoke about being “pretty unhappy and overwhelmed” with her job and feeling “hurt/rejected” from her breakup with Bankman-Fried.
Ellison, the former CEO of Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research hedge fund, pled guilty to cheating investors and agreed to cooperate with authorities. Bankman-Fried admitted to being in a relationship with Ellison in December but provided no other specifics.