Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith is still unaware of the exact crimes the U.S. government is charging him with, his lawyers now claim. In their latest court filing, they claimed the prosecutors have been intentionally vague with their charges.
In their motion, which they filed at the Southern District of New York, the lawyers stated:
“The prosecution and defense of criminal charges is not a game, and the defense should not be forced to use a decoder ring on over 6,800 pages of discovery—much of which has been heavily redacted by the government—to discern the basic information that should be present in every indictment: what crimes were actually alleged to have been committed, by whom, and where.”
The prosecutors’ indictment has failed to provide this most basic information, they said. They are requesting the court to order the prosecutors to provide a bill of particulars regarding the offenses their client is alleged to have committed.
In their charges, the prosecutors accused Griffith of offering ‘services’ to the South Korean government that violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The lawyers argue that the term ‘services’ is vague.
“Nowhere in the IEEPA […] is there a definition of what, precisely, is meant by the term “services”…. the government also avoids embracing any established definition of the word, arguing only that “services” is to be interpreted broadly.”
U.S. authorities arrested Griffith in November last year after he landed from North Korea. As CoinGeek reported, they claimed he had violated the IEEPA for attending and presenting at a blockchain conference in the country. They alleged that he engaged in discussions with Korean officials on using blockchain technology to evade sanctions.
Griffith’s lawyers have been fighting the charges since. In October 2020, they filed a motion for dismissal of charges, claiming the indictment was fatally flawed. The prosecutors fought back a month later, urging the court to dismiss his lawyers’ motion.
If convicted of violating the IEEPA, he faces up to twenty years behind bars for his crimes.
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