Virgil Griffith Still Doesn’t Know What Exact Crimes He Is Accused of, Attorneys Say

Virgil Griffith Still Doesn’t Know What Exact Crimes He Is Accused of, Attorneys Say
Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith is accused of violating U.S. sanctions law.
(CoinDesk archives)

Attorneys for Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith filed documents over the past week arguing he and they still don’t know exactly what he is being accused of doing.

Griffith, who was of violating U.S. sanctions law by traveling to North Korea and teaching locals how to transfer funds using cryptocurrency, has yet to receive a list of actual crimes for which he is being indicted, according to a published to the federal court system. 

“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 document read. 

Attorneys not involved in the case told CoinDesk in January that while prosecutors claim Griffith violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, at the time they hadn’t revealed he was accused of saying or doing. 

According to one of Tuesday’s filings, this information is still unavailable. The document said Griffith is requesting “particulars” about what services he allegedly provided, who else was involved and how these services violated U.S. law. 

Griffith’s attorney, , asked a federal judge to compel prosecutors to reveal details and evidence during . At the time prosecutors said they would comply with federal production requirements.

Griffith’s team that first amendment rights protected the Ethereum Foundation coder against government action. Repeating their long-standing argument that Griffith received no payment for his North Korea speech and therefore rendered no “services,” they said Griffith was well within his constitutional rights.

“To argue that he did, the government has to twist basic words beyond their common meanings,” the filing said.

The U.S. State Department without express permission in 2017.

The argument was made in support of filed last month

Moreover, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) had a much greater role in the investigation leading up to Griffith’s 2019 arrest than had been initially disclosed, . 

FBI agents were discussing the case with OFAC employees at least as early as October 2019, well before the previously disclosed timeline of November 2019, according to the filing. 

“The exact nature of OFAC’s expressed concerns are identical to the issues at stake here: namely, whether Mr. Griffith’s presentation falls under the informational exemption under the Berman Amendment and the FTIA and whether the giving of an oral presentation constitutes a ‘service’ in the context of a conference,” the filing said.

Information in the public domain is from IEEPA restrictions.

As such, the filing says, even if Griffith provided any information that falls under OFAC’s “services” bucket, it should still fall within that public domain exemption that is protected by the First Amendment.

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