Back in November 2019, Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith was charged with violating U.S. sanctions law, after he had traveled to North Korea to take part in a blockchain conference. As per the authorities, Griffith’s time there has violated the country’s Emergency Economy Powers Act, thus, purportedly committing conspiracy and now facing a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Now, Griffith reportedly agreed with the federal prosecutors wherein he pleads guilty to reduce his prison sentence to six and a half years – less than half of his original prison sentence. On top of that, Griffith has seemingly also agreed to a forfeiture clause. While the exact details of the clause are still a mystery, many believe that it would see the proceeds he received from that particular blockchain conference presentation forfeited to the authorities. Notably, his trial officially begins today in New York.
After taking the plea deal, Griffith’s lawyers requested that their client be moved to the Essex County Correctional Facility in New Jersey due to their belief that Griffith’s current jail, the Metropolitan Correction Center, is too dangerous for him. Nevertheless, Griffith’s guilty plea took many by surprise, as both the defense team and the prosecutors are seemingly well-equipped to face a tumultuous trial.