A moving and poetic sentencing memo by Charlie Shrem’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, portrays his client through the lenses of ancient Greek literature. Shrem was sentenced last Friday to years in prison for operating an unlicensed money services business. The intro reads:
“Had the Greeks known of crypto-currencies and of certain provincial Brooklyn neighborhoods, a tragedy could have been written about a boy who, through Dionysian passion and a little hubris, helped nurture an idea—bitcoin—that was new to the world, and that could change how the world—the whole world—passed value from one person to another.
This new idea would take the boy from from [sic] his neighborhood. The boy would see himself as an almost sacred guardian of this new idea, charged with the awesome responsibility of bringing it out of the darkness and into the light of widespread, mainstream acceptance. However, in the chaos of developing the new idea, he would drop his guard, and allow the dark forces to caste it in shadow.
He would be to blame. He would be viewed not as its protector but as its destroyer, the destroyer of the one thing—the idea—he loved most. He would be sent back to his provincial neighborhood and, for a while, would live in his parents’ basements, all the while dreaming of the time he could return to his lifelong task of helping—of being just one of many—to bring this new idea further into light.
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The rest of the story remains to be written.”
The revelation raises speculation that Shrem and his legal team managed to move the heart of Judge Jed Rakoff, who only sentenced Shrem for two out of a theoretical maximum 30 years. Shrem seemed highly satisfied with the outcome, saying the justice has been served.
Shrem’s lawyer strongly underscored his client’s youth and inexperience, and indicated, therefore, that the crimes do not warrant such exacting consequences. Rakoff did acknowledge that a longer sentence would “fail to take into account the human being.”
The document is only part of what was an epic campaign by Agnifilo to fight for his client’s freedom, one which saw Shrem’s terms of detainment reduced to house arrest, and from there, chipped away to effectively nothing.