The use of a flip phone, or some non-smartphone, is one of several restrictions that prosecutors and Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorneys are jointly asking the judge to approve.
The lawyers have been working to satisfy concerns raised by Judge Lewis Kaplan, who said he could “conceivably” revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail after he found there was a “threat” of witness tampering.
The crypto entrepreneur reached out to the former general counsel of FTX and used a virtual private network, or VPN, days after the judge said he wanted to restrict the use of encrypted devices.
Bankman-Fried was charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and fraud in what prosecutors allege is one of the largest financial frauds in US history. He pleaded not guilty to charges that he misused customer funds in FTX to prop up related hedge fund Alameda Research, make venture investments, and donate to political campaigns to influence policy.
Bankman-Fried was released on a $250 million bond and is confined to the home of his parents, Stanford University law professors, in Palo Alto, California.
Under the proposal, Bankman-Fried’s new laptop will “be configured so that he is only able to log on to the internet through the use of specified VPNs, and that the VPNs only permit the defendant to access websites that have been whitelisted through the VPNs .”
Among the websites are programs he could use to prepare for his defense, including Zoom, Microsoft Office, Python, and Adobe Acrobat. Monitoring tools would also be installed on his laptop and he would be prohibited from buying electronic devices.
Bankman-Fried also would be restricted from scrolling the internet, with his access limited to court-approved websites. The lawyers proposed several sites to help prepare his defense, including YouTube, read-only websites showing crypto prices, and research websites. Bankman-Fried also asked to view others for his personal use, including news sites, Netflix, Spotify, Uber Eats, Amazon and baseball and football sites.
The judge previously raised concerns about Bankman-Fried’s access to his parents’ computers, cell phones and internet. Attorneys proposed the parents sign affidavits stating they won’t let their son use their devices, which would be password protected. In addition, each device would have software that would photograph or take video of the user.