Prosecutors want to prevent the cryptocurrency exchange’s founder and its supporters from making public statements that could prejudice the case.
Lawyers for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried rejected claims by prosecutors that his conversation with a New York Times reporter constituted witness tampering but agreed to a gag order, they said in a letter to a federal fraud judge.
The letter, which was released Sunday, came as prosecutors sought to prevent Bankman-Fried and her associates from making statements that could jeopardize the case. The defense requested that the law also apply to the defendants and potential witnesses, namely the Chief Executive Officer of FTX John Ray.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan is scheduled to consider the case Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan.
Cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which was valued at $32bn, filed for bankruptcy in November. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to charges of embezzlement and is expected to be arraigned on October 2.
In the letter, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer Mark Cohen confirmed that his client spoke to a New York Times reporter and provided documents written by his former colleague and friend Caroline Ellison, who joined the prosecution.
The July 20 New York Times article reported excerpts from Ellison’s personal Google documents from before the fall of FTX in which he spoke of being “pretty unhappy and overwhelmed” with his work and feeling “hurt/rejected” from his breakup with Bankman-Fried.
Ellison headed Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research hedge fund and pleaded guilty to embezzlement. In December, Bankman-Fried said she and Ellison were in a relationship but did not elaborate.
Cohen said Bankman-Fried’s actions “did not violate the immunity clause in this case, nor did he violate his bail conditions, nor did he violate any law or order”.
Arguing that the law should also apply to Ray, Cohen said the head of FTX has “attacked and insulted” Bankman-Fried, pointing to his comment that the “bad guys” in the FTX case are being pursued by the authorities and his statement that Bankman-Fried lied to continue the “digital game”.
A spokesman for FTX creditors declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, which is charged in the case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.