February 23, 2024

SBF’s Defense Request for an Extension

Attorneys representing Sam Bankman-Fried, the ex-CEO of FTX, have indicated that his upcoming trial may be postponed. Bankman-Fried’s legal representatives stated that they require additional time to prepare a defense because they are yet to receive evidence from federal prosecutors.

Lawyers representing Sam Bankman-Fried, a former crypto billionaire, indicated yesterday that his criminal hearing set for October might require postponement.

They indicated that it might be essential to postpone the trial of the ex-crypto exchange executive to provide him with additional time to prepare for his defense. According to Reuters, they contended that reviewing the evidence and preparing a defense might require more time than initially anticipated.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys wrote a letter to United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan, clarifying that they were not requesting a change in the trial date. However, it might be necessary since they were still waiting for a significant fragment of the evidence. In addition, additional charges were brought against the FTX founder late last month.

The former FTX CEO is now facing twelve counts, as four new conspiracy and fraud charges were recently added. After being captured in December, Bankman-Fried suggested that he was not guilty of eight counts of fraud in January.

Data from the devices of Caroline Ellison, the former Alameda CEO, and Gary Wang, the former FTX technology chief, previously the closest friends of SBF, were being gathered. The Department of Justice has brought fraud charges, and the criminal trial will commence in October, focusing on these charges.

According to Bankman-Fried’s legal team, they are currently waiting for information from the computers of the two previous Alameda/FTX employees. However, they believe that the evidence from these devices will be substantial and vital to their client’s defense.

One of the defense lawyers noted that it might be necessary to ask for a postponement of the trial, which is presently scheduled to commence in October, depending on the quantity of the discovery and when it is provided.

Witnesses’ Credibility Raises Concerns

Following his release on a bond of $250 million, and has been on house arrest at his folks’ residence in California. Judge Kaplan contemplated modifying the bail conditions when it was revealed that Bankman-Fried had utilized a VPN to browse the internet.

Previously, Bankman-Fried was prohibited from communicating with former FTX employees and utilizing privacy-oriented messaging amenities. However, the prosecution suggested he could be released with stringent technology usage limitations.

As per Bankman-Fried’s legal team, a part of his defense strategy will involve attempting to create distance between him and the day-to-day running of FTX. It has been suggested that Bankman-Fried will endeavor to place the responsibility on Ellison and challenge her projected testimony in his trial, which could be postponed.

According to Rebecca Mermelstein, an ex-prosecutor for Manhattan, “The accused will argue, ‘No, you are the one who was primarily accountable, and now you are attempting to blame me.’ Disputing the credibility of collaborating witnesses is a frequently employed defense strategy, as defendants often claim that these witnesses are incentivized to fabricate and accuse others of receiving more favorable treatment.

FTX Defense Fees

At the start of the year, court documents show that FTX hired a team of accountants and lawyers who charged a staggering thirty-eight million dollars in fees. This team comprised hundreds of individuals, including paralegals, accountants, lawyers, and consultants.

In addition, FTX retained Sullivan & Cromwell as counsel, and they billed for 14,569 hours of work, amounting to 16.8 million dollars. Finally, FTX filed a lawsuit against Grayscale, a crypto fund manager, seeking access to as much as nine billion dollars from their ETH and BTC wallets.

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