With his trial scheduled for less than a month from now, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), founder and former CEO of the failed FTX crypto exchange, is scrambling to get as much out of the judge as possible. This time around, SBF is looking toward getting released ahead of his trial, but it seems the court is not ready to play ball with him.
FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Wants Freedom Ahead Of Trial
In a filing that was presented to the court on September 8, Sam Bankman-Fried and his lawyers had asked the court to allow the FTX founder to be released ahead of his upcoming trial. The argument for why this should be approved revolved around the founder not having an adequate internet connection to properly review documents to help build his case.
This is not the first time that SBF’s lawyers will be trying to get him out after his bail was revoked for witness tampering. They had previously filed to have the FTX founder be in jail only on weekends, allowing him five days of the week to work with his lawyers and review documents connected to his trial.
However, just like the previous request to have the founder released five days a week, the court has refused to grant the defendant’s latest pretrial release request. In the September 12 filing, United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said that the defendant “has not provided a sufficient basis for such a finding despite his relatively unsupported claims that he does not have unimpeded access to electronically stored discovery and other material (collectively, “ESI’) while detained and a variety of other arguments.”
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The Judge points to the fact that Sam Bankman-Fried had ample time (seven and a half months) leading up to his bail being revoked during which he had access to most of the Electronically Stored Information (ESI). “Thus, whatever impediments defendant may have experienced in preparing for trial since August 11, he faced no such impediments during the roughly 7-1/2 months between his presentment to this Court and the revocation of his bail.”
Furthermore, Judge Kaplan explained that the time constraints being presented by the defendant were of his own making. According to him, the court had given them the October date they had asked for while also being open to considering a postponement of his trial date if requested.
The Judge also reminded the defendant that he was wrong in thinking that he had to review every single piece of discovery presented by the prosecutors. Rather, his “substantial team of extremely able retained lawyers” should be able to do so.
Last but not least, the Court points out that Sam Bankman-Fried’s team has not presented any specific materials that he has been unable to access while detained. “Generalities about millions of pages without connecting those dots is simply not persuasive,” the filing reads.
The FTX founder is still set to stand trial starting October 3 for the original eight (8) charges brought against him at the time of his extradition. This includes one charge of campaign finance and seven counts of fraud and money laundering, to which Sam Bankman-Fried pled not guilty in a court proceeding held on August 22.