UNITED STATES NEWS

Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers renew claim that the FTX founder can’t prepare for trial behind bars

Aug 25, 2023, 3:28 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried said Friday that prosecutors have delivered another four million pages of documents for the FTX founder to examine six weeks before trial, making it impossible for the former cryptocurrency executive to adequately review the evidence for an October trial from behind bars.

Bankman-Fried lost the right to remain free on bail when a judge decided two weeks ago that the fallen cryptocurrency wiz had repeatedly tried to influence witnesses against him. Prosecutors say he intentionally deceived customers and investors to enrich himself and others, while playing a central role in the company’s multibillion-dollar collapse after the equivalent of a bank run.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, attorneys Christian Everdell and Mark Cohen renewed their request for the 31-year-old to be freed so he can adequately prepare for his Oct. 3 trial. He’d been living with his parents in Palo Alto, California, under the terms of a $250 million bail deal that was in place since he was brought to the United States from the Bahamas in December.

His lawyers appealed the ruling to jail him to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. And earlier this week, they complained at a hearing that he has had to survive at a Brooklyn lockup on bread, water and peanut butter because they won’t provide him with vegan food.

They said the jail conditions, his limited access to computers and the evidence against him, and the government’s late turnover of millions of pages of documents has violated his Sixth Amendment rights, including the right to know the evidence against him.

“We do not believe that anything short of temporary release will properly address these problems and safeguard Mr. Bankman-Fried’s right to participate in his own defense,” the lawyers wrote.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to charges including wire fraud and conspiracy.

A spokesperson for prosecutors declined comment Friday.

In Friday’s letter, Everdell and Cohen wrote that the four million pages of materials was turned over to the defense by prosecutors on Thursday and it was expected that the government will “produce millions more pages even at this late stage.”

They said Bankman-Fried had been working between 80 and 100 hours a week on his defense before he was jailed, even managing to produce a spreadsheet with millions of cells of data.

The lawyers complained that an arrangement allowing Bankman-Fried to be brought to the Manhattan federal courthouse two days a week for computer access is inadequate, in part because the laptop he is provided has limited battery life and no power outlet in his cell block to charge it.

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Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers renew claim that the FTX founder can’t prepare for trial behind bars