Former Ethereum dev Virgil Griffith asks for resentencing in North Korea case

Virgil Griffith, a previous Ethereum programmer, is asking for a lighter sentence after being given a 63-month imprisonment in 2022 for aiding North Korea in employing blockchain technology.

On April 17, attorney Glen Garrett McGorty wrote a letter on behalf of his client Virgil Griffith and submitted it to Judge Kevin Castel at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. In this correspondence, McGorty made an argument.

The letter asks the court to reconsider Griffith’s punishment in light of recent adjustments to US sentencing laws. These modifications grant a reduction of two levels for specific offenders who originally had no penalty points assigned.

In April 2022, Griffith received a sentence of 63 months in prison and a fine of $100,000. This came after he admitted to breaking U.S. sanctions by attending a conference in North Korea and helping them apply blockchain technology – an action prohibited due to existing economic restrictions.

In simpler terms, the letter makes the case that Griffith should receive a deduction of two points under the new rules because he falls into the category of “zero-point” offenders based on the specified criteria.

Former Ethereum dev Virgil Griffith asks for resentencing in North Korea case

Reducing the offense level from 26 to 24 could shorten his sentence significantly, as the new suggested guidelines range becomes 51 to 63 months – translating to about a year less in prison time.

The letter asks the court to instruct the U.S. Probation Office to create a new pre-sentence investigation report, arrange for a resentencing proceeding, and establish a timeline for submitting fresh information and arguments from the defense team in support of their plea for sentence reduction.

“The defense respectfully requests the opportunity to provide the Court with updated information which would counsel toward a sentence no greater than the lowest end of the new Guidelines range–51 months—if not lower.”

A “zero-point” offender refers to an individual who committed a first-time, non-violent crime that carries a lower risk of reoffending based on specific criteria, making them less likely to reoffend compared to other criminals.

Beginning in May 2023, the U.S. Department of Commerce restricted Griffith from exporting goods for a period of ten years. At that time, he was already halfway through a five-year prison term.

He was prohibited from conducting business deals in areas such as commodities, software, or technology subject to American export control laws.

Read More

2024-04-18 07:09