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- Prosecutors say Sam Bankman-Fried is trying to discredit Caroline Ellison by leaking her diary entries.
- Ellison — the former CEO of Alameda Research and Bankman-Fried’s ex — is expected to be a star trial witness.
- Bankman-Fried wants to make her look like a “jilted lover,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Prosecutors ripped into Samuel Bankman-Fried in a new court filing, accusing him of trying to discredit a witness in his upcoming criminal trial by leaking diary entries from his ex-girlfriend — and potential star witness — Caroline Ellison to the New York Times.
“By selectively sharing certain private documents with the New York Times, the defendant is attempting to discredit a witness, cast Ellison in a poor light, and advance his defense through the press and outside the constraints of the courtroom and rules of evidence: that Ellison was a jilted lover who perpetrated these crimes alone,” prosecutors wrote in a Thursday night letter filed to court.
Earlier on Thursday, the Times published a story featuring excerpts from Ellison’s diary that she kept on Google Docs.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have accused Bankman-Fried of perpetuating a scheme where he allegedly defrauded customers of his cryptocurrency trading platform, FTX, in part by commingling funds with Alameda Research, a hedge fund he also controlled.
Tyler Le, Rebecca Zisser/Insider
Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, has pleaded guilty to her part in the scheme and is cooperating with prosecutors in their investigation. The case is slated to go to trial in October.
The diary entries obtained by the Times show how Ellison’s relationship with Bankman-Fried affected her work at Alameda Research. In one entry, addressed to Bankman-Fried, she wrote that her role “felt too associated with you in a way that was painful” after the breakup, according to the Times.
The Times story doesn’t say how the reporters obtained the diary entries. But prosecutors wrote it was “apparent” that Bankman-Fried shared them. They asked US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who’s overseeing the case, to issue an order limiting what Bankman-Fried is allowed to share with other people ahead of the trial.
While Google didn’t hand over the diary entries pursuant to an earlier search warrant “due to a production error,” Bankman-Fried appeared to have access to the documents and met with one of the Times reporters, prosecutors wrote in the letter.
Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried gave “a misleading patina of legitimacy” to an effort to discredit Ellison in the case.
“The fact that the defendant funneled this material through the New York Times, rather than directly commenting on the documents himself, is particularly pernicious,” prosecutors wrote. “Having the story appear in a reputable newspaper with a worldwide readership without identifying the defendant as the source lends a misleading patina of legitimacy to what would otherwise be naked advocacy, compounding the risk of tainting prospective jurors.”
The material risked tainting the jury pool and could deter other potential witnesses from testifying at the trial, prosecutors wrote.
“These witness concerns will only be heightened if witnesses are made to fear that a consequence of testifying against the defendant may include personal humiliation and efforts to discredit their reputation that go beyond what the rules of evidence might permit during cross examination,” prosecutors wrote.
A spokesperson for the Times declined to comment.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have not yet responded to the letter in court. A spokesperson for the FTX co-founder didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.