Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now-defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange, was denied immediate release from a Brooklyn detention facility on Wednesday.
The decision came from the 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ahead of his criminal trial.
Sam Bankman-Fried Lost Bid to Be Freed
Sam Bankman-Fried sought release to better prepare for his upcoming criminal trial slated for October 3. While denying Bankman-Fried’s immediate release request, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan indicated that a forthcoming panel would review the plea.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked his staggering $250 million bail on August 11, citing likely witness tampering instances. Prosecutors assert that Bankman-Fried pilfered billions from FTX’s customer accounts to offset losses at Alameda Research, his hedge fund.
The prosecution’s hard stance against him intensified after Bankman-Fried disclosed the personal writings of Caroline Ellison, his former romantic partner and ex-CEO of Alameda Research. He faces charges of fraud and conspiracy, claims he vehemently denies.
“It is unclear how a cooperating witness who has promised to testify against a defendant could be meaningfully threatened by nothing but their own statements being published by a reputable newspaper,” Bankman-Fried’s lawyers wrote.
His legal team highlighted that the current jail conditions have proven inadequate for trial preparation. While Sam Bankman-Fried has been allocated a few hours daily to review evidence on a laptop at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, the arrangements are less than ideal.
For instance, Bankman-Fried lost significant time during mandatory prisoner counts and faced additional constraints over the weekend.
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Responding to these concerns, the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan revealed that the detention center authorized the purchase of a second laptop for Bankman-Fried. Meanwhile, Judge Kaplan signaled openness to considering a trial delay, though the defense has made no formal request.
“If the defendant in good conscience feels that he needs a postponement … they can ask,” Kaplan said.
While a spokesman for Bankman-Fried declined to comment, the crypto market awaits the next chapter in this unfolding saga.
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