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Bankman-Fried lawyers say they will pay for technical expert to aid judge on bail terms

<i>Yuki Iwamura/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>Former FTX chief executive Samuel Bankman-Fried is seen here in New York City on February 9. Lawyers for Bankman-Fried agreed to pay for a security expert to help the federal judge overseeing his fraud case navigate technology issues.
AFP via Getty Images
Yuki Iwamura/AFP/Getty Images
Former FTX chief executive Samuel Bankman-Fried is seen here in New York City on February 9. Lawyers for Bankman-Fried agreed to pay for a security expert to help the federal judge overseeing his fraud case navigate technology issues.

by Kara Scannell, CNN

Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried agreed to pay for a security expert to help the federal judge overseeing his fraud case navigate technology issues as they seek to keep the FTX founder out of jail before his trial.

In a brief letter, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys informed Judge Lewis Kaplan that they agreed with his proposal for a security expert who would work solely for the judge. They said they would propose potential candidates by the end of the week.

At a bail hearing last week, Judge Kaplan suggested Bankman-Fried’s lawyer hire a technical expert to help him navigate issues of encryption, disappearing messages and virtual private networks, or VPN, that have presented challenges.

The judge has been grappling with finding a balance to allow Bankman-Fried access to communication channels so he can prepare his defense against the potential misuse of those apps or VPNs. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to multiple fraud and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors asked for strict bail conditions limiting the crypto entreprenuer’s use of messaging platforms after becoming alarmed that Bankman-Fried contacted a former FTX employee who is a government witness. Their concerns heightened when they discovered Bankman-Fried used a VPN twice in the past few weeks, including just days after a bail hearing in which the judge expressed concern about the use of encryption. The judge said the outreach could be probable cause to believe Bankman-Fried committed a crime while out on bail.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys have said the contact with the former employee and VPN use was “benign.” They also told the judge that FTX’s attorneys informed them that they would need to use a VPN to access documents and data that is held on a cloud server.

At the hearing last week, the judge suggested he could revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail if he was unable to get comfortable with bail terms that would allow the FTX founder to access the internet after the series of missteps, including potential witness tampering.

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