Sam Bankman-Fried, the indicted Founder of the now-bankrupt
crypto exchange FTX, may be staring at a „very long sentence” if
convicted of fraud. The judge overseeing the trial starting next week expressed
uncertainty about Bankman-Fried’s future, suggesting serious consequences.
The comments by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan came in
response to a request from the 31-year-old former billionaire, who sought
temporary release from jail during the trial to facilitate closer coordination
with his defense team.
Kaplan denied this request, deeming Bankman-Fried a flight
risk. „Your client in the event of conviction could be looking at a very
long sentence,” Judge Kaplan cautioned during a hearing at the Manhattan
Bankman-Fried, who has maintained his innocence, faces seven
counts of fraud and conspiracy arising from the collapse of FTX in November
2022. If convicted, he could potentially be sentenced to a maximum of 110 years
in prison, Reuters reported. While his legal team had argued for temporary release, citing the need for comprehensive trial preparations, Judge Kaplan
acknowledged their concerns.
To address this, he committed to facilitating early morning
meetings between Bankman-Fried and his attorneys, allowing crucial discussions
and strategizing to occur before the commencement of trial proceedings.
SBF Accused of Witness Tampering
Danielle Kudla, the prosecutor, pointed out that
Bankman-Fried had ample time to prepare for the trial during the nearly eight
months he spent out on bail at his parent’s residence in California. During
this time, allegations of witness tampering surfaced, leading to his
incarceration on August 11. One such instance involved Bankman-Fried allegedly
sharing the private writings of Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda
Research, with a New York Times reporter.
In addition, the prosecutors contended that Bankman-Fried
and his legal team had not met the necessary burden of proof to justify
temporary release. Additionally, they raised doubts about the adequacy of the
proposed supervision arrangement, suggesting it might not meet the legal
requirements for a temporary release.
The judge’s decision means that Bankman-Fried will remain in
jail for the trial, which centers on allegations about his role in FTX.
The trial of Sam Bankman-Fried is scheduled to commence on
October 3 and could extend to over six weeks. The outcome of this trial holds
significant implications not only for Bankman-Fried personally but also for the
broader cryptocurrency ecosystem as it grapples with issues of trust,
transparency, and accountability.
This article was written by Jared Kirui at www.financemagnates.com.