Prosecutors accuse Sam Bankman-Fried of leaking her ex-boyfriend’s private notes to the New York Times


A judge is requiring former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to attend a hearing next week after federal prosecutors accused him of leaking the personal writings of his ex-girlfriend and business partner, Caroline Ellison, to the New York Times.

U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan also asked the parties to be prepared to revise the conditions of Bankman-Fried’s bail, according to court records.

Federal prosecutors charged Bankman-Fried with witness tampering after he allegedly leaked Ellison’s personal writings. In a letter Thursday to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried of giving the New York Times Ellison’s writings to “interfere with a fair trial by an impartial jury.”

In an article published Thursday titled “Inside the Private Writings of Caroline Ellison, Star Witness in the FTX Case,” the New York Times published private diary entries that Ellison wrote in Google Docs. They reportedly described her “unhappy and overwhelmed” emotional state as CEO of Alameda Research, FTX’s crypto hedge fund. The writings also reportedly expressed her doubts about her ability to make decisions and effectively run the business.

Ellison pleaded guilty in December to multiple counts of conspiracy and fraud for her role in a scheme that led to the collapse of FTX. Prosecutors say she is expected to serve as a witness in their criminal case against Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to eight federal counts of wire fraud and conspiracy.

In the letter to Kaplan, prosecutors said they became aware earlier this week that an article was on the way and alleged that Bankman-Fried’s lawyers confirmed he sat down with the newspaper and handed over documents that were not part of the discovery material.

“By selectively sharing certain private documents with the New York Times, the defendant is attempting to discredit a witness, cast Ellison in a bad light, and advance his defense through the press and outside the courtroom and rules of evidence: that Ellison was a deranged lover who committed these crimes alone,” wrote U.S. Attorney Damian of Williams, who prosecuted the Bank.

He added, “While the government expects the overwhelming evidence to give the lie to this defense, it is prejudicial and inappropriate for the defendant to impugn Ellison’s credibility ahead of trial, especially with materials that the defense has not established are admissible at trial, much less produced for the government.”

Prosecutors are trying to limit Bankman-Fried’s ability to make public statements out of fear that he could influence the jury pool and have a chilling effect on witnesses.

“In addition to prejudicing the jury pool, the effect, if not the intent, of the defendant’s conduct is not only to harass Ellison, but also to deter other potential trial witnesses from testifying,” Williams wrote.

A representative for Bankman-Fried declined to comment. A New York Times spokesperson and an attorney representing Ellison did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

— CNN’s Kara Scannell contributed to this report.

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