Court denies Sam Bankman-Fried’s motion for pre-trial release yet again
In a familiar refrain, Sam Bankman-Fried has been denied release on bail ahead of his criminal trial scheduled to begin next week.
Judge Lewis Kaplan explained that the former CEO may face a “very long sentence” if convicted at his fraud trial set to commence next week.
Reuters quoted Judge Kaplan as saying:
“Your client, in the event of conviction, could be looking at a very long sentence. If things begin to look bleak … maybe the time would come when he would seek to flee.”
The report further details that U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan denied Bankman-Fried’s request for temporary release during the trial, citing the defendant’s potential flight risk.
Bankman-Fried, who’s been indicted on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy stemming from FTX’s collapse in November 2022, is currently detained at the famed Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, infamous for its poor conditions. the facility has been the holding ground for several high-profile inmates and has been criticized for its staffing shortages, power outages, and poor sanitation.
Bankman-Fried’s legal team had argued for his temporary release before the trial, insisting that the current detention conditions hinder their ability to efficiently prepare for the upcoming proceedings.
Judge Kaplan expressed sympathy for the defense’s concerns but insisted on arranging for Bankman-Fried to arrive at court at 7 a.m. on most trial days to discuss matters with his legal team before the proceedings commence.
The coming trial, set to start on October 3 and could last up to six weeks, will focus primarily on the charges related to fraud and money laundering.
Prosecutors also requested immunity from prosecution for two additional witnesses in exchange for their testimony against Bankman-Fried. The identity of these witnesses, however, remains undisclosed. Several of Bankman-Fried’s former associates, including Caroline Ellison and Ryan Salame, have already pleaded guilty to other charges connected to the collapse of FTX and its sister firm, Alameda Research.