Arguments to free FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried get rough reception from federal appeals panel

Sep 19, 2023, 4:30 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court in Manhattan seemed unreceptive Tuesday to arguments that FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried should be released on bail before his trial starts in two weeks so he can better prepare for trial.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Manhattan, and all three judges were dismissive of his lawyer’s claims that the First Amendment protects him from a judge’s conclusion that his actions while confined to his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, for eight months violated the conditions of his $250 million bail.

Bankman-Fried, 31, was extradited to the United States last December from the Bahamas to face charges that he stole billions of dollars in FTX customer deposits, spending tens of millions on his businesses, speculative investments, charitable donations and campaign contributions meant to influence cryptocurrency regulation in Washington.

Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty, was jailed Aug. 11. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan concluded he had tried to influence witnesses against him, most recently by showing a journalist the private writings of a former girlfriend who served as CEO of Alameda Research — Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency trading hedge fund — before FTX collapsed last November.

Kaplan said at a recent hearing that the diary-like writings by Caroline Ellison were of the kind that a former romantic partner was unlikely to share with anyone “except to hurt, discredit, and frighten the subject of the material.”

Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, told the 2nd Circuit to overturn the revocation of bail so he can properly prepare for a trial set to start with jury selection on Oct. 3. He said documents in the case that his client can no longer access are so voluminous that they would be as tall as three skyscrapers if they were printed out in a single stack.

“You can’t prepare for trial this way, your honor, you just can’t,” Cohen said.

Circuit Judge William J. Nardini was particularly blunt in his assessment of Bankman-Fried’s prospects for release, saying that he should have considered his need to study documents in his case before taking actions that Kaplan concluded were designed to intimidate or influence witnesses.

“But, like anyone else, if it is true that he has intimidated witnesses, at a certain point, he makes his own bed and he sleeps in it,” Nardini said.

Circuit Judge Denny Chin asked if there was a First Amendment right “to influence or discredit a witness who may testify against you. Is there?”

“No, your honor, there isn’t,” Cohen responded.

Circuit Judge John M. Walker Jr. said Kaplan was in the best position to decide whether Bankman-Fried had intent to influence or intimidate witnesses and the 2nd Circuit must “afford tremendous and probably the greatest amount of deference” to his rulings.

The 2nd Circuit did not immediately rule.


For more AP coverage of Sam Bankman-Fried: https://apnews.com/hub/sam-bankman-fried

United States News

FILE - The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engul...

Associated Press

Residents prepare to return to sites of homes demolished in Lahaina wildfire 7 weeks ago

HONOLULU (AP) — From just outside the burn zone in Lahaina, Jes Claydon can see the ruins of the rental home where she lived for 13 years and raised three children. Little remains recognizable beyond the jars of sea glass that stood outside the front door. On Monday, officials will begin lifting restrictions on entry […]

44 minutes ago

Associated Press

Toddler and 2 adults fatally shot in Florida during argument over dog sale, authorities say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A 3-year-old child and two adults were fatally shot late Saturday at a Florida apartment complex during an apparent dispute over the sale of a dog, authorities said. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief J.D. Stronko told reporters that five people, including the child, had gone to a luxury apartment complex at […]

58 minutes ago

FILE - Archbishop Timothy Broglio conducts an Easter Sunday Mass in an empty sanctuary at Basilica ...

Associated Press

Ideological rifts among U.S. bishops are in the spotlight ahead of momentous Vatican meeting

NEW YORK (AP) — Early next month, the Vatican will open an unprecedented gathering of Catholic clergy and laypeople from around the world. The synod is intended to be a collegial, collaborative event, though the agenda includes divisive issues such as the role of women in the church and the inclusion of LGBTQ Catholics. If […]

1 hour ago

Chester Deanes, left, and Ben Phillips hold a photo of the former Pruitt-Igoe housing development i...

Associated Press

Government should pay compensation for secretive Cold War-era testing, St. Louis victims say

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ben Phillips’ childhood memories include basketball games with friends, and neighbors gathering in the summer shade at their St. Louis housing complex. He also remembers watching men in hazmat suits scurry on the roofs of high-rise buildings as a dense material poured into the air. “I remember the mist,” Phillips, now […]

2 hours ago

FILE - The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the distance, Nov. 4, 2020...

Associated Press

The Supreme Court will hear a case with a lot of ‘buts’ & ‘ifs’ over the meaning of ‘and’

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s hard to imagine a less contentious or more innocent word than “and.” But how to interpret that simple conjunction has prompted a Supreme Court on Oct. 2, the first day of its new term. What the justices decide could affect thousands of prison sentences each year. Federal courts across the country […]

2 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit at the State Depart...

Associated Press

Biden to open embassies in Cook Islands, Niue as he welcomes Pacific leaders for Washington summit

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to announce the opening of new U.S. embassies on Cook Islands and Niue on Monday as the Democratic administration aims to demonstrate to Pacific Island leaders that it remains committed to increasing American presence in the region. The announcement about the new diplomatic missions in the South […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Sanderson Ford...

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford congratulates D-backs’ on drive to great first half of 2023

The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a red-hot first half of the major league season, and Sanderson Ford wants to send its congratulations to the ballclub.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

Arguments to free FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried get rough reception from federal appeals panel