August 22, 2023 at 16:26 GMTModified date: August 22, 2023 at 16:26 GMT
August 22, 2023 at 16:26 GMT

SBF claims innocence in latest court appearance

SBF pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering charges connected to last year’s FTX collapse during a court appearance today.

SBF claims innocence in latest court appearance

Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering charges connected to last year’s FTX collapse during a court appearance today.

The allegations are centred on the collapse of his crypto empire which happened in November 2022. The new charges are linked to his original indictment that was filed last December.

Bankman-Fried’s arraignment for the same happened in the Southern District of New York courthouse. Here, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged that Bankman-Fried directed the use of customer funds to buy Bahamas real estate, make personal investments and donate to political campaigns.

The Tuesday hearing was overseen by Magistrate Judge Sarah Neburn. Recently, requests were made from the defense team to let Bankman-Fried meet with his attorneys and have access to internet-enabled laptops in the U.S. Attorney’s office every weekday. This case was presided by Judge Lewis Kaplan, who on Monday ruled that Bankman-Fried could meet with his attorneys until 3:00 p.m. EDT on that day at the office. However, the rest of the request is still being contemplated on.

The recent hearing saw one of Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, Christian Everdell, bringing up this issue again. He said that the founder needs to use internet-enabled laptops to review the “millions of” documents produced during discovery.

The attorney argued that Bankman-Fried has had no access to discovery since his detention and this was a violation of his Sixth Amendment rights.

Stressing on the matter further, he said: “There is no way for him to effectively communicate his work product, his analyses to us. He needs to be performing analyses.”

However, this issue had already been briefed before Judge Kaplan, who then went forward to reject the request.

Another one of Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, Mark Cohen, focused on the conditions at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, where the founder has been held since his arrest on 11 August 2023. He talked about the prison’s lack of vegan options. Since Bankman-Fried was still “following his principles”, he is now only subsisting on a diet of bread and water, said the attorney.

Another point raised by Cohen was how the prison did not provide the FTX founder with Adderall, while also noting that he was running low on his supply of EMSAM, which is an antidepressant.

The attorneys concluded that the lack of these things would hamper Bankman-Fried’s ability to put up a proper defence to his charges. The hearing was then adjourned with Judge Netburn saying she would look into the issues, hoping to resolve them by the end of the day.

The FTX founder’s trial is set to start in early October. About two months ahead of his trial, Bankman-Fried ended up in jail on seven different charges, including securities fraud, wire fraud, commodities fraud and money laundering.