The crypto couple are every going solo in court docket.
Heather Morgan, the comedic rapper turned accused bitcoin bandit has employed her personal protection lawyer within the billion greenback crypto cash laundering case in opposition to her and her husband.
The transfer comes simply days after prosecutors signaled that Morgan and her husband, Ilya Lichtenstein, could also be engaged in discussions to achieve a plea deal.
On Monday, protection lawyer Marshall Miller, filed paperwork in court docket stating he was taking on as Morgan’s authorized consultant. Previous to that, she had been represented by the identical group of attorneys as her husband.
It isn’t irregular for 2 defendants — even a husband and spouse — dealing with the identical fees to have separate attorneys. However the sudden change amid potential plea-bargain talks raises the likelihood that she might search her personal decision to the case.
A consultant for Miller declined to remark. A lawyer for Lichtenstein additionally declined to remark.
The couple have been charged with conspiracy to commit cash laundering and defraud the U.S. authorities in connection to the 2016 hack of the crypto forex change Bitfinex through which 120,000 bitcoin had been stolen. On the time, the bitcoin was value about $71 million, however given the wild good points in worth for the crypto forex since then, it’s now valued at $4.5 billion.
Investigators mentioned they’d recovered about $3.6 billion of the stolen bitcoin from wallets that the couple managed. Neither have been charged with committing the hack itself.
Proof offered up to now means that prosecutors have a extra damning case in opposition to Lichtenstein, as most of the crypto accounts and wallets used to launder the cash had been related to him. However prosecutors say Morgan had performed an lively function in shifting the cash, even utilizing accounts related to her enterprise to launder a number of the illicit bitcoin.
Lichtenstein is being held with out bail as he awaits trial. Morgan was launched on $3 million bond and has been confined to the couple’s Wall Road condo.
On Monday, prosecutors and the couple’s protection attorneys agreed to waive their proper to a speedy trial. Below federal legislation, prosecutors are required to convey defendants in felony legal instances to trial inside 70 days of being indicted.
Either side agreed to waive the stipulation given the period of time protection attorneys would want to assessment the proof gathered by prosecutors and likewise “to permit the events to have interaction in discussions of attainable resolutions in need of trial,” in line with the submitting.
Authorized specialists mentioned language of this sort will not be irregular and doesn’t essentially imply the 2 sides need to attain a plea settlement.