Virgil Griffith, the former Ethereum Foundation researcher accused of violating U.S. sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him on Thursday as prosecutors from the southern district of New York would not have done this properly, Griffiths State crime.
Griffith, 37, was arrested by FBI agents on November 28, 2019 after a presentation at a conference in North Korea in April.
Prosecutors allege Griffith provided services at the North Korean government conference in the form of “valuable information” that he provided to DPRK officials, and that he “participated in talks” on how blockchain technology could be used, to avoid sanctions.
Griffith, meanwhile, claims that his presentation was “a very general speech based on publicly available information”.
Thursday’s motion to dismiss the indictment now depends on whether or not the planning and delivery of this presentation can be interpreted as a conspiracy to violate sanctions.
In the motion, Griffith argues that because he was not paid to attend and was not contracted as a consultant, he was not doing “service” to the DPRK and that his speech is protected from the US government’s first amendment ban.
Additionally, Griffith argues that his presentation is expressly covered by an exemption from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act for sharing “information” and “educational materials”.
The motion added:
“If the speech Mr. Griffith allegedly made is not ‘information’, then it is nothing.”
As Cointelegraph previously reported, Griffith’s case divided the crypto community.
In December, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin defended Griffith, saying:
“I don’t think Virgil really helped the DPRK do something bad. He gave a presentation based on publicly available information about open source software. There was no strange hackery “Advanced Tutoring”. […] Virgil made no personal gain from the trip. […] I hope USA. […] focuses on real and harmful corruption that they and all countries are grappling with rather than persecuting programmers making speeches. “