The laptop of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried holds so much data that the FBI is struggling to analyze it, according to reports from Business Insider on March 30.
Prosecutors overburdened by laptop data
The FBI is having difficulty with the laptop’s contents, according to statements made by Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Roos at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
It reportedly takes weeks for prosecutors to retrieve Bankman-Fried’s Slack messages. It takes longer to obtain other data, and agents must divide the contents of the laptop into separate parts due to the sheer amount of data on the computer.
As a result, the Department of Justice has so far been unable to begin a privilege review — that is, a review by individuals who are not working on the case. This process determines whether certain information can be used in the case against Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried’s attorney reportedly expressed concerns about how prosecutors would handle the data on the laptop. However, the attorney’s concerns are said to be related to the possibility of a cooperating witness who could testify to advance the government’s case — not strictly whether the DOJ will be able to sort through the laptop’s data fully.
The report from Business Insider also indicates that prosecutors have provided over 6 million pages of discovery material related to the case so far.
SBF court proceedings continue
It is unclear whether the DOJ and FBI’s difficulties are only due to the amount of data, or whether their issues are related to encryption and privacy as well.
Although Bankman-Fried’s apparent data-hoarding habits have not previously been discussed, his tendency to use secret and auto-deleting messaging apps previously became an issue during his case. He now faces restrictions on his use of those apps.
Bankman-Fried’s main trial will take place in October, but court proceedings are currently ongoing. Bankman-Fried recently pleaded not guilty to 13 federal indictments. Earlier, he was charged with violating anti-bribery laws related to China.
Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison for his role in FTX’s wrongdoing, though it is not guaranteed that he will face that full sentence even if convicted.