Prosecutors are seeking permission from a judge to allow a witness to testify virtually against Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX. The witness is currently unable to attend the trial in person as he is trapped in war-torn Ukraine. Prosecutors state that the defense team of the former crypto billionaire is not consenting to the request, presenting a challenge for the prosecution. Under Ukrainian law, the witness is not permitted to leave the country, as he may be called upon to participate in the ongoing war. The prosecution suggests that the witness should be allowed to participate via video chat, preferably with the presence of a U.S. official, such as at an embassy.
Bankman-Fried’s trial is scheduled to commence in the following week, and things have not been going in his favor. In August, he was imprisoned for leaking documents about his ex-girlfriend and former coworker, Caroline Ellison, to The New York Times. Ellison is expected to testify against him, and Bankman-Fried was additionally accused of potential witness tampering. On Thursday, Judge Lewis Kaplan denied Bankman-Fried’s request for release during the trial. The dispute regarding the virtual testimony from the Ukraine-based witness adds another layer of complexity to the legal proceedings.