U.S. Department of Justice Opposes Sam Bankman-Fried's Latest Move for 'Temporary Release'

The FTX founder's defense team asked for Bankman-Fried to be released into his attorneys' custody during the trial.

AccessTimeIconSep 27, 2023 at 8:25 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 27, 2023 at 9:01 p.m. UTC

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a Wednesday court filing that Sam Bankman-Fried's latest move for a temporary release – even with severe restrictions – should be denied.

Prosecutors pushed back against a motion to release Bankman-Fried from detention during his trial next month, saying arguments that arguments that he won't be able to meaningfully work on his defense are very vague and don't hold up given his legal team's experience.

"The Renewed Motion largely recycles the defendant’s generalized claims regarding the manner in which he would like to assist his counsel in his defense," the filing said. "These unspecified efforts, he claims, have been curtailed or made less convenient by his detention."

Bankman-Fried's attorneys asked that he be released into their custody, saying he would agree to being guarded outside of court and be prevented from accessing any electronic devices like laptops or phones.

These proposed conditions don't meet legal requirements for a defendant, the DOJ said.

"The defendant’s repeated general assertions regarding the inconveniences of his detention simply do not outweigh the dangers of his release in light of the record, as affirmed by the Circuit, regarding his course of conduct over time," the filing said.

Both Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing Bankman-Fried's trial, and an appeals court have denied Bankman-Fried's efforts for release, the DOJ pointed out.

The judge's order denying the previous motion for "temporary release" said Bankman-Fried's arguments did not hold up under scrutiny; namely, Judge Kaplan said the FTX founder had not explained efforts he could bring to working on his defense that he hadn't already in the months he was out on bail or that his attorneys couldn't continue now that he was detained.

Judge Kaplan has scheduled a hearing for 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday to discuss the matter.


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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.