Sam Bankman-Fried Wants to Watch Netflix and Read Crypto News While Awaiting Trial
While Sam Bankman-Fried awaits his day in federal court, he should be allowed to conduct legal research online, keep up with news and sports, shop on Amazon, and place food delivery orders, according to a letter submitted to the court by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. A previous request that focused on messaging applications was rejected last month by Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan.
Writing to Kaplan again after consultation with the former CEO’s legal team, Williams submitted requested adjustments to the conditions of SBF’s bail, establishing an allowlist of websites he could visit on a new, specially configured laptop.
“The list of websites is divided into two categories: websites the defense submits are necessary to the defendant’s participation in the preparation of his defense, and websites the defendant would like to use for other purposes that the Government has determined do not pose a risk of danger to the community,” the letter from the U.S. Attorney said.
Allowable websites are described as not providing a private communication platform and not facilitating access to or transferring cryptocurrency assets.
For SBF’s personal use, the “Proposed Whitelisted Websites” included Amazon, news websites Wall Street Journal and New York Times, crypto media like Decrypt and CoinDesk, streaming media providers Netflix and Spotify, and food delivery services DoorDash and Uber Eats. Sports sites MLB.com and NFL.com also made the list.
Acceptable websites for legal research included blockchain explorers like Etherscan, crypto price trackers like CoinGecko, and resources ranging from Wikipedia to the Internet Archive to YouTube. All government websites were also allowed.
The laptop would be configured with a VPN to enforce the website access list, as well as allow Bankman-Friend to “access the cloud-hosted FTX read-only database that has been provided as part of discovery,” the letter states. He will also be granted access to Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Docs, “which defense counsel uses with clients to share information.”
The U.S. Attorney also asked that Bankman-Fried be allowed to use Microsoft Office, Zoom, Adobe Acrobat, Docusign, and the password manager application 1password. Although his parents are Apple users, the issued laptop will apparently be a Windows-based machine, as the software list includes Notepad and Notepad++.
To track his communications and online activity, SBF “will not object to the installation of court-authorized pen registers on his phone number, Gmail account, and internet service.” Those orders will be kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
As for other devices his parents have in their home on the Stanford campus—”each has an iPhone, each has an Apple laptop, and they share a desktop iMac,” the letter notes—they will be inventoried, password protected, remotely monitored and subject to inspection. In fact, special software will “[activate] the device’s camera when the device is being used and takes video or periodic photographs of the user.”
The letter also reiterates issues raised in a previous request, including a restriction on who Bankman-Fried can contact, prohibiting the use of encrypted call or messaging applications, and block video games that allow chat or voice communications.
Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in December in the Bahamas and faces life in prison on fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy charges.
Last month, Judge Kaplan put restrictions into place following claims that the disgraced crypto mogul had contacted a potential witness via the encrypted messaging platform Signal.