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In NoKo Crypto Case Inner City Press Won Unsealing Now Griffith Wants To Be Consultant

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 20– Virgil Griffith, charged with violating North Korea sanctions in connection with a crypto-currency conference there, will now seek to get the case moved for lack of venue out of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.   

This emerged at a telephone conference in the case on May 18. Griffith's defense lawyer Brian E. Klein said he is ready to file a motion on venue as early as this Friday May 22, based on "ex parte, in camera" filings he made with SDNY Judge P. Kevin Castel. 

   Inner City Press, which has covered the case from Griffith's first appearance in the SDNY Magistrates Court to his Christmas holiday legal moves to get released to home confinement in Alabama, immediately sought the still-sealed documents in this criminal case, see below.

 Now on July 20, Klein has requested for Griffith restored access to the Internet, telling Judge Castel in letter here on Patreon that while on leave from Ethereum another unnamed company has offered to make him a consultant, but that Klein would wants it name sealed : "Before making the instant motion for these limited modifications, counsel for Mr. Griffith made plain these points to the government in the hope of avoiding unnecessary litigation and presenting a joint proposal to the Court. In response, the government stated that it would oppose any such request. In an email, the government stated: We will not agree to remove your client from home detention. Particularly in the wake of the pandemic, we see no basis for such an application. Please advise if you believe there is a specific need driving your position. We are aware of none. We similarly do not see any basis for your client to have unmonitored access to the internet. If you would like to suggest some form of limited and monitored access, we would be willing to confer with Pretrial Services regarding the feasibility of any proposal....

The pandemic has demonstrated that many employees can do their jobs entirely remotely and that is true of Mr. Griffith, who holds a PhD from California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and is a mathematical theorist and experienced computer programmer. While he has been placed on leave by his former employer during the pendency of these charges, he has been offered one consulting contract, which can be submitted to the Court under seal. No less a consideration given the Bail Reform Act’s directive that bail conditions be the “least restrictive” to ensure appearance, Mr. Griffith also wants to have Internet access to do other productive activities that the rest of us enjoy—such as seeing friends on FaceTime or Zoom, downloading music or YouTube videos or watching live-streamed events, booking gym visits, or taking online classes. Without Internet access, it is impossible for him to do those things." We'll have more on this.

  Judge Castel to his credit the same day asked each side's counsel to respond: "The Court has received an application from Inner City Press for the unsealing of certain applications by the defendant for the issuance of subpoenas. The parties shall respond to the application by May 22, 2020. If there is no objection, the Court will order the applications and any resulting order unsealed."

 On May 29, Judge Castel ruled: "Defendant is directed to file forthwith on ECF his ex parte and in camera applications for subpoenas pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17. (Signed by Judge P. Kevin Castel on 5/29/2020) (ap)."

  And now they have been filed: a March 17 letter and affirmation, and the subpoena itself, for "A list of any and all IP addresses associated with the email address, and any logs or similar records of access to the email address, for the period from November 1, 2018 to October 30, 2019."

  Inner City Press has uploaded the application, affirmation and subpoena on Patreon here.

   An aside: the application of diplomatic immunity and/or the Vienna convention to this subpoena, and Verizon's response to it, remain UNclear.

 On June 1, Griffith's lawyer filed a motion to dismiss for lack of venue, stating that Griffith's email to the North Korea Mission in New York, responded to, might not have been "received" in New York. Inner City Press is tweeting the photo here. Watch this site.

    On May 28, from Judge Castel again to his credit, this: "ORDER as to Virgil Griffith. The government advises that the defendant consents to public disclosure of his ex parte and in camera application for a subpoena pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17 (the Application) but does not consent to advance disclosure of the Application to the government. To enable the government to intelligently state its position on public disclosure, defendant shall transmit the Application to the government by 1 p.m. today, May 28, 2020. The government shall state whether it has any objection to public disclosure by 1 p.m. on May 29, 2020. The Court will thereafter rule on whether the Application should be publicly filed (Signed by Judge P. Kevin Castel on 5/28/20)(jw)." Watch this site.

The case is US v. Griffith, 20-cr-15 (Castel). 


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