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Today, in the Southern District of New York, was the first hearing in the United States Department of Justice’s (DoJ) case versus Samourai Wallet designers Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill.

The 2 designers were apprehended in late April and charged with cash laundering and running an unlicensed cash sending company.

Only Rodriguez and his lawyer, Michael Krouse, existed in the courtroom today, however, as Hill is still in Portugal and has yet to react to an extradition demand from the United States federal government.

The prosecution specified that it is almost set to take part in discovery (sharing the proof that it prepares to utilize for the trial with the offenders) which it is gotten ready for the trial whether both Hill and Rodriguez exist for it or not.

Samourai Wallet designer Keonne Rodriguez leaving the court house in downtown Manhattan after his hearing on May 28, 2024.

“Substantial Discovery”

The prosecution also specified that it has yet to draw out all of the information from the electronic gadgets it has actually taken from Rodriguez, however that it will offer “substantial discovery” based upon the info it has actually acquired so far.

And it shared that it is still waiting on Rodriguez to turn over a 2 terabyte hard disk that the accused still has in his belongings.

No information were supplied regarding what information may be on the hard disk.

A Letter From Two Senators

Rodriguez’s lawyer specified that he prepares to submit a movement to dismiss the indictment of his customer and his customer’s partner at Samourai, mentioning a letter that United States Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent out to Attorney General Merrick Garland in which the 2 political leaders argued non-custodial crypto software application can’t be a cash sending service.

“We write to express our grave concerns regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent policy arguments that dramatically expand the scope of the Federal prohibition on operating an unlicensed money transmitting business,” starts the letter.

“The DOJ’s unprecedented interpretation of this statute in the context of non-custodial crypto asset software services contradicts the clear intent of Congress and the authoritative guidance of the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). This interpretation threatens to criminalize Americans offering non-custodial crypto asset software services,” Senators Lummis and Wyden included.

The letter also acknowledges that “non-custodial crypto service providers cannot be classified as money transmitter businesses because users of such services retain sole possession and control of their crypto assets.”

Moving Forward

The judge revealed that Rodriguez would stay under home arrest which the next hearing for the case would happen on September 4, 2024 at 11:30 AM EST.

Those thinking about contributing to the legal defense fund for the Samourai designers can do so through this charity event established by the Bitcoin Policy Institute (BPI).

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