Prosecutors are seeking permission for a witness to testify virtually in the trial against FTX founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. The witness is unable to attend in person as he is trapped in war-torn Ukraine and is prohibited from leaving the country due to potential military service obligations. Despite the defense team’s opposition to the request, prosecutors argue that the witness should be allowed to participate via video chat, preferably in the presence of a U.S. official, such as at an embassy.
Government officials estimated that if the witness were allowed to travel, it would involve a three-day journey each way. They highlighted the challenging itinerary, which includes traveling through Ukraine by train and bus during an ongoing war, crossing a border to a neighboring country with international flights to the United States, and then reaching the nearest international airport for air travel. Therefore, it is suggested that virtual testimony is the most feasible method for the witness to participate in the trial.
Bankman-Fried’s trial has faced several setbacks, as he was previously incarcerated for leaking documents pertaining to his ex-girlfriend and former coworker, Caroline Ellison. Additionally, his request for release during the trial was denied by Judge Lewis Kaplan. These developments, along with the dispute over the virtual testimony, paint a complicated legal situation for the FTX founder.