Once the lord of a multibillion-dollar crypto empire under the FTX brand name, Sam Bankman-Fried will now have to prepare himself for his upcoming trial from a cell. A New York federal judge revoked Bankman-Fried’s bail and sent the crypto wiz to jail Friday to await trial later this year.
In a bail hearing, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed with federal prosecutors’ argument that Bankman-Fried was trying to discredit key witnesses in the case by leaking sensitive documents to the press. The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged the defendant leaked the diary of ex-Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison to The New York Times in order to intimidate her and taint the jury pool. Ellison was once in a relationship with Bankman-Fried, but she’s since flipped on the ex-FTX head and has become a key witness for the prosecution as part of a plea deal. He had previously been incarcerated after his arrest in the Bahamas and subsequent extradition to the US. He posted $250 million bail in December.
According to reports coming from inside the courtroom, Kaplan told the court that it was probable Bankman-Fried had tried to “tamper with witnesses at least twice.” The ex-FTX CEO was remanded to federal custody, where he is slated to remain until his trial date, currently set for Oct. 2. It’s currently unclear where he will be held, but Inner City Press reported he could either be going to Putnam County Correctional Facility or MDC-Brooklyn.
Lawyers for the once-crypto kingpin, who often goes by SBF online, have claimed the 31-year-old was simply trying to strike a different chord from all the negative press circulating online about him and his dealings with FTX. According to AP, SBF’s attorneys repeated themselves Friday, saying that their client shouldn’t be thrown back in jail for battling unfavorable news coverage. They plan to file an appeal.
The judge also denied Bankman-Fried’s request for a delayed detention while he filed an appeal. SBF’s lawyers had previously whined that it would be next to impossible to create their client’s defense with him in federal custody.
According to reports from inside the courtroom, Kaplan also complained about SBF pushing the limits of his $250 million bail that let him stay in his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California. He referenced the once-crypto kingpin’s alleged use of a VPN in order to get around federal surveillance. The judge previously restricted SBF’s internet access in order to curtail his worst impulses.
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