Judge extends Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail restrictions on messaging apps: Report

Judge extends Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail restrictions on messaging apps: Report

A federal judge has reportedly denied oral arguments proposing former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried be allowed to use certain messaging apps.

According to a Feb. 9 Reuters report, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York upheld his ruling that Bankman-Fried be restricted from using encrypted messaging apps as a condition of his release on a $250-million bond. The judge ordered SBF not to communicate using apps such as Signal on Feb. 1, but the former CEO’s legal team and prosecutors had negotiated a deal allowing for exceptions, including Facebook Messenger, Zoom and FaceTime.

Judge Kaplan reportedly said he was “far less interested in [Bankman-Fried’s] convenience” than in the former FTX CEO contacting potential witnesses in his criminal case — court filings showed SBF had reached out to FTX US general counsel Ryne Miller and current FTX CEO John Ray. Bloomberg reported the judge said Bankman-Fried could be “bright enough to encrypt something without a computer,” suggesting that the current bail restrictions were necessary.

“There is still snail mail and there is still email and there are all kinds of ways to communicate that don’t present the same risks,” said Kaplan.

Bankman-Fried appeared in court in person as part of the bail hearing but largely remains restricted to his parents’ California home. His bail restrictions will reportedly remain in place until Feb. 21 following Kaplan’s ruling to extend.

This story is developing and will be updated.