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Judge Denies Sam Bankman-Fried’s Request for Temporary Release

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The founder and former CEO of FTX will remain in jail throughout his trial, which begins on October 3.

Posted September 28, 2023 at 5:53 pm EST.

Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, have lost their third bid to get their client out of jail ahead of the October 3 trial date, according to a CoinDesk report

In a legal document filed Wednesday with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said the release was “necessary for preparation of [his] defense” due to the complexity of the case. On Thursday, Judge Lewis Kaplan disagreed, saying, “the issues in this case are pretty straightforward: Was there fraud, or wasn’t there?”

The judge did say that the legal team could have access to Bankman-Fried from 7:00 a.m. every day of the trial in a small victory.  

Judge Kaplan was also skeptical of the defense’s claims that Bankman-Fried didn’t pose a flight risk: “I’ve wondered about that. Your client could be looking at a very long sentence” and that the 31-year-old might choose to flee if things started to “look bleak.” 

Bankman-Fried was originally out on bond but was taken into custody in August when a judge ruled he was likely tampering with witnesses. The court ruled against a request for Bankman-Fried’s temporary release on September 12 but said that decision didn’t prohibit his lawyers from making another request. An appeals court then declined to reverse the decision last week. 

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