Sam Bankman-Fried Ditches Legal Team, Moves Forward with Ex Celsius CEO’s Lawyers

Julia Smith
Last updated: | 1 min read
FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, Celsius, Mashinsky
Source: a video screenshot, ABC News / YouTube

Disgraced former FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried appeared in a Manhattan federal court on Wednesday afternoon with a new legal team that also represents former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky.

Bankman-Fried Makes His First Court Appearance Following High-Profile Trial


During the hearing, Bankman-Fried formally waived any conflict of interest regarding having the same representation as Mashinsky in the form of lawyers Marc Mukasey and Torrey Young.

Bankman-Fried appeared chained and visibly slimmer in his first court appearance following his landmark November 2023 trial. The former “king of crypto” was later found guilty on all seven fraud counts brought against him, including wire fraud, and is facing what could amount to over 100 years in prison.

Equally of significance, Bankman-Fried’s latest hearing saw his original legal team of Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell formally withdrawn from the case altogether.

Shortly after the FTX founder’s conviction, Cohen and Everdell claimed Bankman-Fried would “continue to vigorously fight the charges against him.”

Mashinsky Waives His Right to Conflict-Free Representation


Bankman-Fried’s Curcio hearing comes just one day after a similar hearing was held for Mashinsky, who also waived his right to conflict-free representation.

Similarly, Mashinsky is facing seven charges, including securities fraud, wire fraud, and market manipulation. He is facing a maximum total of 115 years in prison.

Prosecutors originally requested Wednesday’s hearing in a February 6 court filing, stating that “Celsius’s status as a victim of the fraud on Alameda Research’s lenders may create a conflict in the simultaneous representation of Bankman-Fried.”

FTX and Celsius Aftermath


Following the scandals, both FTX and Celsius were forced into lengthy bankruptcy processes.

After filing for bankruptcy in July 2022, Mashinsky’s former company announced it had emerged from Bankruptcy proceedings late last month, with plans of “an orderly wind-down of its operations, including discontinuing the Celsius mobile and web applications.”

Currently out on a $40 million bail, Mashinsky is set to go to trial on September 24, 2024.

Lawyers for FTX, on the other hand, recently promised debtors of the doomed crypto exchange that their money would be paid back in full.

John Jay Ray III, an attorney specializing in retrieving funds from troubled companies, is currently overseeing FTX’s bankruptcy process.

Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried is being held at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. His sentencing is currently scheduled for March 28, 2024.