What's Next for Sam Bankman-Fried's Legal Case?

The FTX founder still faces potential post-trial motions, sentencing and perhaps another trial.

AccessTimeIconNov 7, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Nov 7, 2023 at 6:23 p.m. UTC

The story of "United States v. Sam Bankman-Fried" isn't quite over yet. Now that he's been found guilty on seven different charges, a few things are going to happen.

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One is – of course – the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System will get to work on drafting a memo for a recommended sentence.

The Department of Justice and the defense team will likely have views on that recommendation. Judge Lewis Kaplan has scheduled a tentative hearing on March 28 to discuss the proposed sentence, with deadlines for the two parties to respond to the memo ahead of that date.

There’s also Bankman-Fried’s second trial, currently scheduled for March 11. The judge set a Feb. 1 deadline for the DOJ to update him on whether or not it intends to proceed with this second trial, which is also dependent on the U.S. winning permission from the Bahamas government.

As a reminder, Bankman-Fried faces additional charges of fraud on FTX customers tied to derivatives (though it's worth noting that last week's conviction did include a count of conspiracy to commit commodities fraud), securities fraud against FTX investors, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitter business and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

These charges were not included in Bankman-Fried's original indictment, meaning they did not appear in the DOJ's request to the Bahamas for his extradition. The Bahamas Supreme Court ordered that the government cannot retroactively grant permission for a trial on these charges until after a hearing has been completed – I haven't yet seen any confirmation that one has been scheduled.

There's also post-trial motions. Defense attorney Mark Cohen and his team may file for a new trial or for the judge to acquit despite the jury verdict. These are pro forma, but Cohen suggested he will file those, and has a Nov. 20 deadline to do so. The DOJ must respond by Dec. 18.

— Nikhilesh De

Editor's notes

We're going to be wrapping up regular editions of this newsletter soon. I don't have a specific end date yet, as we're still digging through the various notebooks we filled up and washing the ink out of our pockets. Once we do finish up, we'll be putting this newsletter on hiatus. If there is news (say, something unexpected happens with the post-trial motions), we may send out a special issue of this newsletter.

— Nikhilesh De

Edited by Sandali Handagama.


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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.