FTX founder’s plea for temporary release should be denied, prosecution says

Sam Bankman-Fried’s renewed request for temporary release from jail before his upcoming trial should be denied, according to the U.S. government.

The United States government sent a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan on Sept. 27 stating that it opposes the motion by Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) and his representation for temporary release from jail before his Oct. 3 trial. The judge is scheduled to hear arguments from both sides later today.

In its filing, the government asked Kaplan to deny SBF’s request, which was submitted on Sept. 25.

The government said that the defendant’s claims of not being able to “meaningfully participate” in his own defense, which warrants release, “does not outweigh the danger posed by such release conditions in light of the defendant’s prior course of conduct.”

The “danger” is listed as “danger to the community and/or flight.“ It also said the renewed motion “recycles” generalized claims and cited two previous times when the court objected to similar requests.

The first was on Sept. 12 when SBF’s request for immediate release pending trial was denied because of multiple factors.

These included “the defendant’s extensive access to electronic discovery for 7-½ months before his bail was revoked shortly before trial” and the lack of providing any details about specific materials he claims he cannot access, among others.

Related: Sam Bankman-Fried says, ‘I did what I thought was right,’ in leaked docs: Report

The second instance mentioned was on Sept. 21 when a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied SBF’s request for release and called the arguments “unpersuasive.”

The prosecution also highlighted that in this second denial, the Court of Appeals also affirmed the conclusion that “there was probable cause to believe that the defendant attempted to tamper with two witnesses in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b), and specifically that he acted with unlawful intent to influence those witnesses.”

Against this “backdrop,” the government agreed that the renewed motion suffers from the same faults as the first.

Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial in New York City is scheduled for Oct. 3, during which we will face seven fraud-related counts that occurred during his time at FTX and Alameda Research. 

In March 2024, he will be tried for five additional counts in a separate criminal trial. SBF has already pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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