Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team made a third attempt to secure his temporary release from prison ahead of his trial in October, but a New York court has once again denied their request.
District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan has ruled that Bankman-Fried must remain at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) as his defense attorneys failed to provide sufficient reasons for his release.
“I gather he’s 31-years-old, and if things begin to look bleak… and if he had the opportunity to, maybe the time would come that he would seek to flee,” the judge said.
With the trial scheduled to commence on October 3rd, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that his release is essential to adequately prepare for his defense against seven criminal charges, including wire fraud.
However, Judge Kaplan found their arguments lacking and sided with government prosecutors who pointed out that the court had already granted several accommodations for Bankman-Fried, accommodations not typically extended to most individuals facing federal prosecution.
Despite his incarcerated status, Bankman-Fried has been allowed access to an air-gapped laptop for document review and has had frequent meetings with his legal team.
This latest denial marks the third time Bankman-Fried’s efforts to leave MDC during his trial have been thwarted. Both Judge Kaplan and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit previously rejected his release requests on separate occasions.
Bankman-Fried’s legal woes began when his $250 million bail was revoked, leading to his remand at the Brooklyn prison. Prosecutors claimed sufficient evidence of witness tampering, stemming from a conversation between Bankman-Fried and a New York Times reporter.
Federal prosecutors alleged that the former FTX chief had attempted to tamper with witness testimony by leaking Caroline Ellison’s private diary. Ellison had served as Bankman-Fried’s chief officer at his hedge fund, Alameda Research, which purportedly engaged in “risky bets” funded by misappropriated FTX customer funds.
As the main trial draws nearer, the Bankman-Fried family faces legal challenges on multiple fronts. Sam Bankman-Fried not only faces the prospect of prison time, with potential witness testimony from former executives, but the FTX estate is also pursuing legal action against his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, for their alleged involvement in Sam’s fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme.
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