Sam Bankman-Fried Wants Temporary Release Again: “He Alone Knows The Facts”

The legal defense team of former FTX chief Sam Bankman-Fried requested the court once again for their defendant’s temporary release, arguing that the current detention scheme would be impractical for their team to prepare the “complex case for trial.”

“We submit that we are finding it exceedingly difficult as a practical matter to adequately prepare for trial with the restrictions on access currently in place. This is not a point we make lightly but it is the reality of the nature of this case,” Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argue in a letter addressed to Judge Lewis Kaplan.

Earlier this month, Bankman-Fried’s team asked the judge for an early release for the beleaguered crypto mogul because they contend that the jail’s conditions have hindered their ability and they “lost time to effectively prepare for trial”, most especially due to the poor internet conditions in Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Manhattan.

In this fresh release request, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argue that the case “is highly technical and complex,” and they need their client to help them understand the facts and explain many of the issues.

“He alone knows the facts which are also critical in preparing his defense. Unfortunately, his knowledge and insight cannot be replicated by third-party experts as they are not familiar with the underlying facts and cannot provide the necessary help,” the lawyers wrote.

The lawyers also cited a Second Circuit judge that heard the bail revocation appeal, saying “there remains an incentive to find a workable solution because if Mr. Bankman-Fried has insufficient access to his attorneys, it could raise a potential appellate issue that might otherwise be avoided.”

“In a case this complex, defense counsel believe that we will be unable to properly represent our client at his upcoming trial unless we are able to confer with him and prepare for the next day’s witnesses and exhibits in the hours when we are not sitting in the courtroom. We will not be able to do this unless he is temporarily released for trial,” the lawyers added.

Bankman-Fried’s team argue that if he is detained during the trial, his defense counsel will have very limited access to him in the morning before trial sessions begin. After the trial day ends, he will be returned to the MDC, which is well beyond visiting hours. This severely limits the opportunity for defense counsel to meet with him, discuss the day’s testimony and evidence, and prepare for the next day’s proceedings.

Currently, the defense counsel said they can meet with him at the MDC almost daily, but during the trial, this access will be restricted to weekends and non-trial days, which they believe is insufficient for effective representation.

This recent request builds upon an earlier one filed on September 5, outlining various challenges within the correctional facility that have been obstructing Bankman-Fried’s defense.

The immense volume of material within the FTX case has turned into a logistical nightmare for the defense. On August 28, federal prosecutors shared approximately four million pages of documents, a burden that the defense deemed overwhelming, even with “unlimited review time” before the expected trial on October 3.

Initially, the crypto mogul was allowed to prepare for his defense from his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, albeit with certain restrictions on internet access. However, the judge overseeing his case ordered his incarceration on August 11 due to concerns raised by prosecutors about potential witness tampering.

In this most recent temporary release request, Bankman-Fried’s legal team asks the judge to release the defendant during the trial under the following proposed conditions:

  • When not in court, he must be with his attorneys at their offices or offsite workspace, or with a security guard in a temporary residence in New York City.
  • He can leave the courthouse with his attorneys to prepare for trial.
  • Starting at 10:00pm, a security guard will escort him between his lawyers’ offices, his temporary residence, and the courthouse, ensuring no access to electronic devices. Visitors will not be allowed at his temporary residence.
  • He will consent to a gag order, permitting communication only with his attorneys, defense team, parents, and brother.

“We believe that temporary release is the only way for defense counsel to have sufficient access to Mr. Bankman Fried to properly represent him at trial,” the lawyers explained.

Prior to his jail time, Bankman-Fried’s legal team cited his psychiatrist, George Lerner, who explained how necessary it is for the detainee to get regular access to his prescribed meds. Dr. Lerner revealed that the 31-year old former crypto mogul has “a history of Major Depressive Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).”

“Without the aforementioned psychiatric medications… Mr. Bankman-Fried will experience a return of his depression and ADHD symptoms and will be severely negatively impacted in his ability to assist in his own defense,” Dr. Lerner reasoned.

In a New York Mag piece back in February, it was revealed that Bankman-Fried in early 2022 hired Dr. Lerner to serve as a coach for employees who were stressed out by the growing crypto firm’s grueling schedule. Lerner, Bankman-Fried’s psychiatrist since 2019, coached 100 of FTX’s 300 staffers while seeing 20 of them in his private practice.

Information for this briefing was found via the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

Leave a Reply