BitBoy is due in court tomorrow. He probably won’t show up.
Things are so nasty between “BitBoy Crypto” YouTuber Ben Armstrong and the class action lawyer suing him that Armstrong is due in court on Thursday to answer for his alleged bad behavior.
But Armstrong is on a long-awaited BitBoy-branded crypto cruise to the Bahamas. He intends to skip the hearing, despite a judge’s order that he appear in person to address his alleged harassment of Adam Moskowitz, the lawyer who filed a case against him.
“I will not be there in person,” Armstrong told The Block via text message on Wednesday.
The $1 billion class action case is the latest crypto drama to play out in a federal courtroom after the high-flying crypto exchange FTX crashed and burned last year.
Armstrong and other crypto influencers are accused of promoting the sale of unregistered securities at FTX in a class action lawsuit. The case was filed by several plaintiffs including Oklahoma man Edwin Garrison, an FTX customer who is also suing the company’s celebrity promoters like Shaquille O’neal and Tom Brady in a separate case being spearheaded by Moskowitz.
But Armstrong, who regularly gives his 1.45 million YouTube subscribers “the latest crypto news, project reviews, and cryptocurrency trading advice,” claims the lawsuit doesn’t apply to him. Armstrong says he never promoted FTX. The court filings from Moskowitz’s firm indicate that he once praised FTX and its utility token.
“Adam Moskowitz is a clout chasing whore,” Armstrong said in a telephone interview.
One of Armstrong’s tweets about Moskowitz
FTX suit targets BitBoy, Kevin Paffrath
The lawsuit targets influencers like Kevin Paffrath, a YouTuber who once unsuccessfully ran for governor in California, as well as Graham Stephan, Andrei Jikh and others. The filing claims influencers “played a major role” in the FTX collapse. The company was once valued at $32 billion and crumbled after a run on its FTT token.
“With the rise to prominence of the internet and social media, a new multi-billion dollar cottage industry of ‘influencers’ has been created,” court filings said. “FTX could not have arisen to such great heights without the massive impact of these influencers, who hyped the deceptive FTX platform for undisclosed payments ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to multimillion-dollar bribes.”
The Moskowitz Law Firm has filed lawsuits against promoters of FTX, bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital and Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange. The FTX case against Armstrong and other influencers was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
“There’s a long list of influencers that promoted this,” Moskowitz said during a recording of The Scoop with Frank Chaparro this week. “I can’t go after 1,000 right now. So you go after the largest ones.”
Moskowitz didn’t comment for this story.
Everything Sam Bankman-Fried touches ‘turns to gold’
Armstrong denies ever having promoted FTX. In the wake of the FTX collapse, Armstrong railed against the defunct exchange online, uploading dozens of YouTube videos with titles like “BIGGEST Scam in Crypto History (FTX Destroyed Peoples Lives)” and “FTX Insiders Rigging Crypto (BIGGEST Corruption Scandal Ever).”
Lawyers have, however, surfaced videos in which Armstrong addresses FTT, the FTX token, and says “everything” former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried “touches turns to gold.” Bankman-Fried has pleaded guilty to criminal charges and is awaiting an October trial.
An excerpt of the filing against Armstrong
“It is already well-documented that Armstrong has been intricately involved in many nefarious activities,” a court filing said. “Posting a plethora of materials regarding specifically FTX, FTT and Sam Bankman-Fried (much of which he has since altered or deleted, though many are still publicly available), including his own purported half-million dollar stake in FTT.”
Now Armstrong is taking aim at Moskowitz, promising to “totally blow up his entire case.”
“He’s trying to tie me into a lawsuit with the biggest fraud in the history of the world? Like, that’s defamation. There’s no evidence to tie me into it,” Armstrong said by phone.
‘Shorter than the average American male’
Armstrong’s combative communication with Moskowitz, which has included profanity-laden emails and social media posts, has prompted a judge to order him to appear in court on Thursday to answer for his behavior.
“It could be a bit of a circus,” said Josh Garcia, a partner at the Ketsal law firm, noting that lawyers for other defendants in the case have been invited to attend the court proceeding. Garcia is not involved in the case.
If Armstrong doesn’t show up — and he says he won’t — he could be held in contempt of court or subject to other sanctions for his absence, according to lawyers. Armstrong’s representative Jason Rindenau did not respond to a request for comment.
The judge could also punish Armstrong for his alleged conduct toward Moskowitz, perhaps with a temporary restraining order. His behavior toward Moskowitz is well-detailed in court filings and on Armstrong’s own social media.
“Daily reminder you are a p***y,” Armstrong purportedly wrote in a recent email to Moskowitz, which Armstrong shared on Twitter.
“Me getting your legal license taken is not a threat. It’s a promise you bitch. Thank you, Ben Armstrong,” he said he wrote in another tweeted email. Armstrong has also shared photos of Moskowitz on his Twitter page, deriding him as “shorter than the average American male” and “an ambulance chasing douche bag.”
Moskowitz claims the harassment was so intense that he worried for his family’s safety and contacted the FBI and local law enforcement. The Moskowitz Law Firm said it received two dozen phone calls in a matter of hours regarding the lawsuit, according to court filings. Armstrong denies having made any phone calls to Moskowitz.
“If people haven’t figured out by now, I own what I do. I don’t run and hide from things that I did,” Armstrong said.
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