Virgil Griffith, the Ethereum developer arrested last week after allegedly traveling to North Korea to give a talk on cryptocurrency, will be released from prison pending trial after a judge ruled there was enough evidence to move a case against him.
At the same time, an Italian man who allegedly attended the same cryptocurrency conference in North Korea has said the charges against Griffith are exaggerated, CoinDesk reports.
As previously reported by Hard Fork, Griffith is accused of breaking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act after he allegedly explained to North Korea how blockchain could be leveraged to evade US sanctions.
“The sanctions were not a topic at all,” Fabio Pietrosanti, who claims to have known Griffith for almost ten years, told CoinDesk.
Pietrosanti claims the conference was part of a larger trip that intended to give foreigners a better insight into mysterious North Korea.
It’s worth noting, however, that Pietrosanti made it clear that by speaking out to CoinDesk, he hoped to advocate for Griffith’s release.
Brian Klein, a lawyer at Baker Marquart, dubbed “the leading cryptocurrency trial attorney in the USA” is representing Griffith.
“We are very pleased that today the judge found that Virgin should be released from jail pending trial. We dispute the untested allegations in the criminal complaint. Virgil looks forward to his day in court when the full story can come out,” Klein told CoinDesk.
Pietrosanti, however, is not the first member of the community to stand up for Griffith.
Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum‘s co-founder, has also publicly defended him.
“I don’t think what Virgil did gave DRPK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] any kind of real help in doing anything bad. He *delivered a presentation based on publicly available info about open-source software*. There was no weird hackery “advanced tutoring,” he said on Twitter.