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Ethereum researcher arrested for allegedly assisting North Korea to be released from jail pending trail

Celia Wan

Virgil Griffith, the Ethereum research scientist who was arrested in Los Angeles last week for allegedly violating the U.S. sanctions laws, will be released from jail pending trial, according to his defense lawyer Brian Klein.

Klein disclosed in a tweet on Monday that he now represents Griffith, who "looks forward to his day in court, when the full story can come out."

According to a source familiar with the matter, Griffith’s judge ruled that he should be released after certain conditions were met. Prosecutors, according to the source, were given a 7-day stay for an appeal.

Griffith was charged by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allegedly assisting North Korea in bypassing U.S. sanctions. According to a DOJ complaint, Griffin traveled to North Korea despite "receiving warnings not to go" and attended a blockchain conference to teach "his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions." 

Several Ethereum developers, including Vitalik Buterin, have voiced support for Griffith, saying that they will start a petition to free the researcher. 

Earlier this year, Klein negotiated a settlement for Charlie Shrem, who was sued by the Winklevoss brothers. The lawyer also represented Block.one when the firm was ordered by the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay a $24 million penalty for an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO), from which it raised $4.1 billion.