Federal prosecutors are accusing embattled crypto honcho Sam Bankman-Fried of leaking documents about his ex-girlfriend and business partner Caroline Ellison to the press in an alleged effort to taint the prospective jury pool.

The filing issued Thursday, July 20, alleges that Bankman-Fried was a source for a New York Times article (also published yesterday) titled “Inside the Private Writings of Caroline Ellison, Star Witness in the FTX Case.” Ellison — Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend and CEO of his crypto hedge fund Alameda Research — pleaded guilty to the charges against her last December and has been cooperating with prosecutors. 

As prosecutors noted, in the personal writings shared with The Times, Ellison “describes feeling overwhelmed by her job at Alameda, the pain associated with her romantic break up with [Bankman-Fried], and her professional insecurities.” In sharing these documents with the press, the feds claimed, Bankman-Fried “is attempting to discredit a witness, cast Ellison in a poor light, and advance his defense through the press and outside constraints of the courtroom and rules of evidence: that Ellison was a jilted lover who perpetrated these crimes alone.” 

A lawyer for Bankman-Fried did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment. Bankman-Fried is facing eight criminal charges connected to the collapse of FTX, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

While prosecutors noted The Times article does not say how Ellison’s writings were obtained, the government said after it learned the article was coming, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers confirmed that Bankman-Fried had “met with one of the Article’s authors in person and had shared documents with him.” Ellison’s writings, prosecutors added, were not part of any discovery materials in the case.


Prosecutors also called Bankman-Fried’s decision to give documents to The Times, instead of “directly commenting” on them himself, “particularly pernicious.” The filing continues: “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 government’s filing wasn’t the only bit of bad legal news dropped on SBF this week either. As NBC News reports, several former FTX and Alameda lawyers sued Bankman-Fried in Delaware bankruptcy court, accusing him and the crypto exchange leadership team of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars. One way SBF allegedly did this, the ex-employees claimed, was by funneling money to his parents, including a $10 million gift to his dad.