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FTX Founder Sam Bankman Fried’s Attempt to Dismiss Charges Stumbles in Court

Last updated: | 2 min read

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the founder and former CEO of the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, made an effort to have several charges against him dismissed in court. 

Although the defense team’s arguments faced skepticism from the US federal judge in New York, the judge did agree to divide the charges.

According to the judge’s decision, the government will treat some of the charges against Bankman-Fried as part of a different criminal trial. 

The decision was made this Thursday, June 15th, by Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

He ruled that five of the charges against SBF could be brought to trial next year in March. 

This will allow the Department of Justice to proceed with the trial on only eight charges brought against the FTX founder in December 2022. The current trial is expected to start this fall.

SBF’s defense team made multiple attempts to dismiss the charges

The new ruling comes as SBF’s defense team attempted to get the court to dismiss several charges, including campaign finance charges, wire fraud, and bank fraud. 

Judge Kaplan questioned the team about their request but did not grant it.

Speaking to one of Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, he said that he wanted to congratulate them on an “extraordinarily imaginative defense.” 

The comment came as the attorney claimed that the DoJ was attempting to insert new legal theories into the prosecution.

Another attorney, Mark Cohen, claimed that the campaign finance charge should be dismissed on a technical detail, or at the very least, it should be severed alongside other charges. He argued,

“The operative document in extradition is the warrant of surrender. It does not list the campaign finance charge.”

Cohen pointed out that Bankman-Fried did not consent to be extradited on this charge.

However, the prosecutor responded that the extradition request included the charge. 

The warrant was addressed to the Bahamian police, and whether it included the charge or not, the court was aware of it.

These arguments did not convince the judge, and he remained equally skeptical of the efforts to dismiss wire and bank fraud charges

Apart from the defense’s attempts to dismiss these charges, the hearing also focused on the potential timeline regarding the start of the trial. 

Specifically, the judge said that the DoJ-proposed timeline did not give him enough time to review all the case materials and properly familiarize himself with all aspects.

The defense also submitted several notions to get the DoJ to review FTX materials and documents, all of which were denied.

The prosecutor agrees to temporarily hold off some of the additional charges

The new attempt to get the court to dismiss the charges was not the first one. 

Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorneys also filed a motion to dismiss most charges last month, claiming numerous reasons for it. 

Multiple motions focused on claimed legal issues, such as failure to state the offense or alleging valid property rights.

SBF also filed motions to drop some of the charges brought against him after he was extradited to the US. 

The prosecutors agreed to hold off on the extra charges until the Bahamas signed off

This comes from SBF’s claims that the Bahamas had not consented to some post-extradition charges.

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