Sam Bankman-Fried Due Back in Court as He Asks for Daily Releases

The FTX founder will be arraigned on Tuesday. Last week, his attorneys asked that he be allowed to review defense filings at a federal prosecutor’s office every weekday.

AccessTimeIconAug 21, 2023 at 8:59 p.m. UTC
Updated Aug 22, 2023 at 3:19 p.m. UTC

Sam Bankman-Fried will have five and a half hours with his attorneys, minus any time spent being arraigned yet again Tuesday on his latest indictment, which folded campaign finance allegations into existing charges.

Bankman-Fried, who pleaded not guilty to most of those same charges, faces a new superseding indictment after prosecutors said they would have to drop the campaign finance-specific charge due to treaty obligations with the Bahamas. The FTX founder was recently sent to jail after a federal judge ruled he’d violated his bond conditions twice in attempting to manipulate or intimidate witnesses against him.

His attorneys asked that Bankman-Fried be allowed to access two internet-enabled laptops and two “mobile WiFi devices” from conference rooms within the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the courthouse every weekday, and be able to work on his defense “for the entire day” on Aug. 22, 2023.

Judge Lewis Kaplan, the Southern District of New York jurist overseeing the case, had told the parties during an Aug. 11 hearing that he would entertain applications for temporary release into counsel’s offices.

As of Monday at 5:00 p.m. ET, he had not yet weighed in on the defense team’s application for daily access, but ruled that Bankman-Fried could meet with his attorneys in the U.S. Marshals Service’ attorney room from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

He also limited the number of laptops and WiFi-enabled devices to one apiece rather than the two each requested.

Judge Kaplan did set a Wednesday deadline for the defense to provide information about Bankman-Fried’s proposed “advice-of-counsel defense.”

“The Government is left to guess whether it is the defendant’s assertion that he received legal advice relating to his deletion of Slack and Signal messages – a defense he alluded to at the August 11, 2023, conference … or that his fraudulent misappropriation of billions of dollars was somehow laid fully before legal counsel, who approved of the conduct, or that the defendant received legal advice on any other particular aspect of the conduct at issue, or a combination of these defenses, or something else entirely,” the DOJ said in a Friday filing.

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.