On Tuesday, Bankman-Fried lost a bid to leave Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center in order to prepare for his October 3 trial more effectively. His legal team argues that the conditions at the facility have made it “impossible” for him to sift through the prosecutors’ evidence adequately. However, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, stated that Bankman-Fried failed to clarify which specific evidence he couldn’t access.
Interestingly, despite these claimed hindrances, Bankman-Fried hasn’t requested a trial delay. Kaplan has left the door slightly ajar for a “more detailed application for release,” a potential lifeline the defendant may be wise to grasp.
The Reason behind Custody
Bankman-Fried was initially taken into custody on August 11 after Kaplan found probable cause that he had tampered with witnesses, including sharing personal writings of his former romantic partner and colleague, Caroline Ellison, with a New York Times reporter. Ellison, once the CEO of Alameda Research, has pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is expected to testify against Bankman-Fried.
The DOJ has laid down a string of allegations, including the theft of billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to cover Alameda’s losses and fuel Bankman-Fried’s real-estate ambitions and political endeavors.
In a somewhat puzzling move, the DOJ prosecutors dropped Count 8, Campaign Finance charges, at the request of the Bahamas on August 14. The nature of this request and the Bahamas’ involvement remain mysterious, casting yet another shadow over the already complicated case.
A Laptop in a Holding Cell Is Not Enough
In a telling August 25 correspondence, Bankman-Fried’s legal team stressed that their client couldn’t possibly prepare his defense with just “two days a week in the holding cell with a laptop.”
On September 19, a three-judge panel from the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments on Bankman-Fried’s detention order appeal.
As the trial date of October 3 approaches, SBF’s & FTX’s fate hangs in Balance!