U.S. District Judge Grants Griffith Release Under $1 Million Bond
Former Ethereum Foundation researcher Virgil Griffith is poised to be released to his parents’ home in Alabama, U.S., given he meets some pre-release conditions, District Court Judge Vernon Broderick made the ruling, December 30, 2019.
Griffith, a former researcher at Ethereum Foundation has been released on a $1 million bond on the condition that he stay out of California. This comes after a judge earlier this month said that Griffith could be released from jail after the bond amount is posted.
According to a tweet by Inner City Press founder, Matthew Russell Lee, Griffith is slated to be released to his parents’ home in Tuscaloosa under a million dollar bond. However, the release has numerous caveats to it which include Griffith staying in Alabama for “moral suasion.” This condition was placed on the suspicion that Griffith might leave the country and take control of his overseas assets.
Notably, the hearing took place in front of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Vernon S. Broderick. The judge commenced the hearing in a rather stern manner as he told Griffith that “Laws in the country are not suggestions.”
Brian Klein, Griffith’s attorney, working with Baker Marquart LLP, told Coindesk:
“We are very pleased the district judge sided with us and ordered Virgil to be released pending trial.”
Although the ruling was made in Griffith’s favor, it is still not known how long it will take for the developer to leave state custody. Inner City Press states:
“Pre-conditions to release are the signing of the $1 million bond (his father is here in NY) & Pre Trial Services in Alabama visiting. OKing the home in Tuscaloosa. “
A Happy Ending?
For the uninitiated, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Griffith in November this year for allegedly helping North Korea evade U.S. sanctions.
BTCManager reported how Griffith was arrested under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by delivering a presentation on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology and their potential to help countries circumvent international sanctions. At the time, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said that violation of the IEEPA can attract a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
Although Griffith can now take a temporary sigh of relief, it’s worth pondering whether cryptocurrencies – private or public – can hold a candle to international law forces that are evidently not really limited to a particular jurisdiction no matter what they claim.