Judge Denies Temporary Release For Sam Bankman-Fried During Trial

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Bankman-Fried’s lawyers had requested that he be released for the duration of his trial to ensure that he is able to review material and speak with his counsel.

Sam Bankman-Fried will have to remain in jail for the duration of his trial, a federal judge ruled on Thursday, saying that the former FTX founder has had enough time to review material in preparation for the trial.

“I’m really not entirely persuaded by the argument [defense attorney] makes,” Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who oversees the trial, said. “They’re not going in cold here.”

Mark Cohen, the lead lawyer representing Bankman-Fried, said that he would have “almost no time” with the former FTX CEO to speak with him before the trial and that now “is the appropriate time” to ask for a release.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys already lost two bids to have their client released from jail ahead of trial. They still tried again this week, arguing they would have no opportunities to confer with the former FTX executive after the end of a trial day and offering a strict set of limitations they said Bankman-Fried would agree to, including being supervised at all times and prevented from accessing any computers, phones or other electronics.

Prosecutors pushed back in a filing yesterday, saying Bankman-Fried and his lawyers had not met the burden of proof showing a temporary release was “necessary.” Moreover, they said the proposed plan to have a guard watching over Bankman-Fried may not meet the legal requirements for a temporary release.

When Cohen argued in court that Bankman-Fried does not present a flight risk, Kaplan interjected with his own thoughts on the matter. “I’ve wondered about that,” the Judge told Bankman-Fried’s lawyer. “Your client could be looking at a very long sentence,” he added, remarking that Bankman-Fried is still relatively young at just 31 years old. “If things look bleak… if he had that opportunity, maybe he would seek to flee.”

BY: Helene Braun, Sam Kessler, Nikhilesh De


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