Judge Maintains Detention Despite Being ‘Sympathetic’

Judge Maintains Detention Despite Being ‘Sympathetic’

As the high-profile fraud trial involving Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the indicted founder of the defunct FTX crypto exchange prepares to kick off next week, a recent decision by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has garnered significant attention. 

Despite expressing sympathy for the defendant’s predicament, Judge Kaplan has denied Bankman-Fried’s request for temporary release during the trial, citing concerns about flight risk, according to reports.

SBF Lawyers Request for Release During Trials

The Judge’s remarks come following Bankman-Fried’s legal team’s request for temporary release for their client earlier in the week, claiming that they needed unhindered access to him after each trial day to adequately prepare for the subsequent day’s witnesses and testimony.

Their contention was that this would be impossible if he were returned to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn at the end of each trial day. In response to the Defense’s concerns, Judge Kaplan acknowledged his sympathy for their predicament. In a show of flexibility, he offered a solution by agreeing to facilitate Bankman-Fried’s arrival in court by 7 a.m. on the trial days. 

This arrangement would allow the defendant to consult with his legal team for several hours before the commencement of the trials, thereby addressing the logistical challenges posed by his detention.

Bankman-Fried is facing seven counts of fraud and conspiracy related to the collapse of FTX in November 2022. The charges carry a statutory maximum sentence of 110 years in prison, though the actual sentence, if convicted, would be determined by Judge Kaplan based on various factors, likely resulting in a considerably shorter term.

Witness Tampering Allegations

One of the key factors influencing Judge Kaplan’s decision to keep Bankman-Fried in detention is the allegation of witness tampering. Kaplan found evidence suggesting that Bankman-Fried had tampered with witnesses on at least two occasions. 

Notably, this included sharing private writings of former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison with a New York Times reporter. Ellison, a former romantic partner of Bankman-Fried, is among three individuals from his inner circle who have pleaded guilty to fraud and are set to testify against him. 

Additionally, former FTX executives Gary Wang and Nishad Singh have also agreed to provide testimony.

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Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalists who relish writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desires to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain based media and sites. Benjamin Godfrey is a lover of sports and agriculture. Follow him on Twitter, Linkedin

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