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FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s Bail Request Rejected Ahead of Trial

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source; Getty Images

A US court has denied Sam Bankman-Fried‘s request for release on bail before his trial, which is scheduled to begin next month. 

On Thursday, an appeals court upheld the decision to keep the disgraced founder of FTX locked up ahead of his trial. 

“We reject [Bankman-Fried’s] contention that the district court failed to consider a less restrictive alternative to detention,” the court ruled

“The record shows that the district court considered all of the relevant factors, including the Defendant-Appellant’s course of conduct over the time that had required the district court to repeatedly tighten the conditions of release.”

In late August, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers asked for a temporary release from jail in order to work on his defense with his lawyers at the federal courthouse in Manhattan. 

They cited poor internet connectivity and limited battery life as significant hindrances to their efforts, emphasizing the need for his release from jail for effective defense preparation. 

However, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York declined to grant the release during a hearing.

The lawyers once again filed a request for pre-trial release on September 5, citing various obstacles created by conditions in the correctional facility. 

In response, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) claimed that the disgraced founder of FTX has sufficient access to a laptop computer for his defense.

The prosecutors claimed that the internet speed fluctuated between 7.5 megabits per second (Mbps) and 34 Mbps throughout the day, adding that it is sufficient for most internet-related review activities.

Bankman-Fried’s Trial Set to Start on October

Bankman-Fried’s trial is set to commence on October 3rd in a federal courtroom in Manhattan. 

He is facing charges of fraud and conspiracy related to the operation and subsequent collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to all seven charges.

Both Bankman-Fried and the DOJ submitted voir dire questions earlier this month, which were intended to identify if any of the possible jurors are familiar with the case, specifically with crypto or with effective altruism.

One of the suggested questions asked, “If a company involved in the cryptocurrency industry or the financial industry fails, do you feel that only the owners of the company must be to blame?”

The proposed questionnaire also included questions about jurors’ knowledge of FTX and Bankman-Fried, their experience with crypto trading, their opinions on “amassing wealth to improve the world and help others,” and whether they have any experience with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

However, the DOJ has expressed concerns over the proposed jury questions, suggesting that they may be unnecessarily intrusive and potentially intended to support his defense. 

They specifically called out queries that delved into potential jurors’ opinions regarding FTX.

Prosecutors also argued that questions related to effective altruism, which Bankman-Fried claims as his philosophical base, were not only unnecessary but also an attempt to shape a defense narrative suggesting that the defendant was accumulating wealth to improve the world.