Tornado Cash Co-Founder Moves to Dismiss Charges

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In a significant legal maneuver, Roman Storm, co-founder of the controversial cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, has escalated his defense by filing a series of documents aimed at dismissing the charges against him before the trial begins. 

This move follows the government’s response to Storm’s initial motion to dismiss, with Storm’s defense team asserting that the prosecution has failed to adequately demonstrate his direct involvement in the alleged criminal activities outlined in the indictment.

Tornado Cash Co-founder’s Arguments

Central to Storm’s defense is the argument that the Tornado Cash protocol, once deployed, became immutable and accessible to anyone with an internet connection, a fact the government purportedly concedes. 

Storm’s defense contends that by the time the protocol was allegedly misused by criminals, Storm no longer had control over its operation. The defense motion states, “In fact, by the time criminals allegedly began misusing it, the Tornado Cash protocol was, as the government concedes, immutable and available to anyone with an Internet connection.”

Violation of Due Process

Furthermore, the defense challenges the government’s classification of Tornado Cash as a “money transmitting business.” This classification has drawn scrutiny not only from the defense team but also from Senators Ron Wyden and Cynthia Lummis, who expressed their concerns in a letter included in Storm’s motion. 

Storm’s lawyers argue that characterizing Tornado Cash as a money transmitter violates due process and established legal principles, asserting that it “…runs afoul of due process, the rule of lenity, and the rule against novel constructions.”

Additional Motions and Constitutional Concerns

Storm’s legal team has also filed motions compelling the government to produce specific correspondence with Dutch authorities and contesting the seizure of Storm’s cryptocurrency hard wallets

The defense claims that the seizure represents a “wholesale assault on the Fourth Amendment,” arguing that the government should not use Storm’s private keys to indiscriminately search and seize cryptocurrency. 

“The government should not be permitted to use Mr. Storm’s private keys to rifle around the blockchain to seize ‘any and all’ of what it believes is Mr. Storm’s cryptocurrency and transfer that cryptocurrency to its own wallets,” the filing states. The defense criticizes the government’s approach as a speculative search for evidence, labeling it a “fishing expedition.”

Upcoming Hearing of Tornado Cash Co-founder

Storm’s motion to dismiss has garnered support from three crypto advocacy groups through amicus briefs, reflecting a broader concern within the cryptocurrency community about the implications of the case. Crypto investors have also rallied behind Storm, raising millions of dollars for his defense.

The motion hearing for Storm’s case is scheduled for July 12 at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City.

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