On Thursday, The U.S. appeals court crushed Sam Bankman-Fried’s request for bail, and he will be in bars until the trial date on fraud charges linked to the 2022 FTX exchange collapse. The court noted the gravity of the case, and if given bail, SBF could misuse this opportunity. The next trial is on October 3, and Bankman-Fried’s legal team had sought his temporary release based on First Amendment grounds.
However, the appeals court found these arguments vague, and Bankman-Fried will remain behind bars. This came just after the former crypto billionaire lost another order barring him from calling expert witnesses on the stand.
2nd Circuit Court Denies SBF Bail Request on Evidence Tempering
Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now-defunct FTX exchange, has been in custody on witness tampering charges since August. He is accused of leaking a private diary belonging to his ex-colleague and former girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, to the New York Times.
Additionally, he allegedly used an encrypted messaging app to contact another potential witness. In response, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, in favor of his client, said he was exercising his First Amendment right to free speech when speaking to a New York Times reporter about the case.
Violation of Free Speech Noted
Meanwhile, the appeals court is in line with the lower court’s decision on witness tempering. The court’s ruling made it clear that the First Amendment does not protect free speech used to commit a crime, such as witness tampering. Consequently, the session’s court ruled out Bankman-Fried’s attempt to use free speech.
List of Charges is Endless
The court has already found SBF guilty of witness tempering. The other charges, including fraud wire transfer and money laundering, will be contested in court. The prosecution alleges he and fellow FTX executives misused customer funds for risky assets. While some executives have acknowledged the charges, the trial is pending.
This raises serious questions about how FTX handled customer funds. Adding to the woes, Bankman-Fried’s father was recently alleged to be connected to a ‘dark money’ network, an illegal funding network that works for political parties fundraising. If proven, this will end the other side of the tunnel with big names.
If proven guilty, 100 years of trial is awaited. With the October 3 trial date looming, this case’s drama continues to intensify. However, he remains in custody for now, with no vegan food, internet and cell phone access. SBF vehemently maintains his innocence, and his legal team employs various strategies to prolong the trial proceedings.