Lawyers representing the United States government have filed a legal memo opposing the dismissal of charges against Virgil Griffith, a former Ethereum Foundation investigator accused of plotting US sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or Violate the DPRK.
Court documents filed in New York’s Southern District on Nov. 19 refer to prosecutors Griffith’s Oct. 22 argument to dismiss the charges to him as ‘not willing’. The legal team alleges that the former Ethereum Foundation researcher provided a service to the DPRK by using an analogy of a U.S. citizen who provides nuclear secrets to scientists in the reclusive country:
A simple hypothesis exposes the absurdity of Griffith’s position. By Griffith’s logic, the [North Korea Sanctions Regulations] would allow an American physicist to travel to the DPRK and explain the science behind nuclear weapons to a conference of North Korean physicists, as long as the science was available on the Internet, he received no compensation and the regime’s desire to building nuclear weapons was not economic in nature. “
The American court sued Griffith in January on charges of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act following a presentation he gave at a North Korean conference in April. The speech reportedly contained information that North Korean agents could use to circumvent economic sanctions involving cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Federal authorities allege Griffith knew the DPRK was specifically interested in methods of circumventing blockchain sanctions. They allege that Griffith texted an employee saying he was planning the transaction of 1 Ether (ETH) “Between North and South Korea,” knowing that this would be against sanctions.
Griffith has argued that his presentation was a “very general speech based on publicly available information,” that he received no compensation for his participation, and that the speech had no “economic benefit.” Therefore, he claims the charges are groundless and that the speech is protected under the First Amendment.
However, the legal memo states that Griffith admitted to introducing ‘concepts’ about crypto and blockchain to the conference attendees in his interviews with the Federal Bureau of Investigations last May and November, and that some North Koreans likely left with a better understanding of it. use of technology to circumvent sanctions.
The case against Griffith is ongoing. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently free on a $ 1 million bond.