Sam Bankman-Fried’s counsel again asks for jail release ahead of trial

Quick Take

  • The lawyers of the disgraced FTX founder reiterated the necessity of his temporary release in a letter motion to a district court on Monday.

Attorneys for Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of failed crypto exchange FTX, once again asked a district court to temporarily release him from jail ahead of his upcoming trial next month.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers submitted a letter on Monday to Judge Lewis Kaplan, arguing that the temporary release of Bankman-Fried is “necessary for the preparation of [his] defense.”

“The Court has previously noted that it understands the difficulties of preparing a complex case for trial,” his lawyers said. “We submit that we are finding it exceedingly difficult as a practical matter to adequately prepare for trial with the restrictions on access currently in place. This is not a point we make lightly but it is the reality of the nature of this case.”

Bankman-Fried’s defense counsel added that they will only have access to him in the cellblock for a very limited amount of time in the morning before the trial day begins. “When the trial day ends, he will be taken back to the MDC and will arrive well past the time when visiting hours are over,” the lawyers said.

“​​We believe that temporary release is the only way for defense counsel to have sufficient access to Mr. Bankman-Fried to properly represent him at trial,” they added.

The disgraced founder could face over 100 years in prison if convicted on an array of charges including fraud.


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Repeated efforts

Over the past few weeks, Bankman-Fried's attorneys have urged the district court to grant the former FTX CEO's temporary release from jail to review documents ahead of his trial. 

In August, his lawyers claimed that the Department of Justice’s request to revoke his bond — after he shared private diaries belonging to Caroline Ellison with the press — was based on “thin” factual ground and said such a move would violate his right to free speech.

The DOJ, however, previously said that Bankman-Fried, who is detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center, has sufficient access to a laptop to review necessary documents.

Last week, Judge Kaplan blocked certain witnesses from Bankman-Fried’s trial. The judge ordered that a British barrister, a professor at the University of Michigan and some others will not be testifying at the trial.

Disclaimer: The former CEO and majority shareholder of The Block has disclosed a series of loans from former FTX and Alameda founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Timmy Shen is an Asia reporter for The Block. Previously, he wrote about crypto and Web3 for Forkast.News from Taiwan after spending more than three years in Beijing covering finance and current affairs at Caixin Global and Chinese tech at TechNode. His China-related reporting has also appeared in The Guardian. When he's not chasing headlines, you'll find him savoring hot pot and shabu shabu in a Taipei local haunt. Timmy holds an MS degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Send tips to [email protected] or get in touch on X/Telegram @timmyhmshen.


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