The U.S. Department of Justice has been granted more time to provide evidence and documents to Alex Mashinsky’s defense team in the criminal case against the former Celsius CEO.
In a hearing on July 25, U.S. District Judge John Koeltl agreed to exclude the period between July 25 and October 3 from the clock mandated by the Speedy Trial Act. This means prosecutors now have until October 3 to provide discovery – the evidence and documents related to the case – to Mashinsky’s legal team.
Judge Koeltl cited “the volume of discovery” and “complexity of the case” against Mashinsky as reasons for granting the continuance. The Speedy Trial Act generally requires federal criminal trials to begin within 70 days of an indictment being filed. However, periods of delay can be excluded for specific reasons.
This additional time will allow prosecutors to properly disclose all relevant information to Mashinsky’s defense as required by law. Prosecutors must disclose any evidence “favorable to an accused” that is “material either to guilt or to punishment.”
Mashinsky was charged on July 13 with securities fraud, commodities fraud and wire fraud in relation to his actions while CEO of Celsius. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and been released on a $40 million bond. His trial has not yet been scheduled.
The new October 3 discovery deadline will see the Mashinsky case run in parallel with the criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO facing fraud charges in the same New York district. Both cases highlight the increased regulatory scrutiny of cryptocurrency firms and executives.
In summary, while the general public wants swift justice, meeting discovery obligations in complex fraud cases takes time. Judge Koeltl acknowledged this by granting a two-month continuance, balancing due process rights with the need for reasonably prompt resolution. The extra time should help ensure prosecutors fully comply with disclosure requirements and Mashinsky receives a fair trial.