You cannot say former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is a quitter because he never backs down.
That is true at least in the case of him repeatedly appealing for bail and temporary release from his prison confines, even though the judge has denied his request as many times as he has appealed.
Persistently stubborn or admirably tenacious? Pick your side.
In a hearing held on 28 September at the United States (US) District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed a motion put forth by SBF’s legal team, which sought his temporary release to prepare for the impending trial.
This denial marks yet another legal setback for SBF, as his legal representatives had persistently sought his release after Judge Kaplan revoked his bail on 11 August, citing allegations of witness intimidation.
The matter had been appealed twice in higher courts without success on SBF’s behalf.
Judge Lewis expressed concerns about the potential for SBF to become a flight risk if the circumstances of the trial appeared unfavourable, taking into account his age and the prospect of a significant prison sentence.
Although the judge did not grant SBF an early release, he did indicate that the former FTX CEO would be allowed to arrive at the court early on select days to confer with his legal counsel.
The final preparations for SBF’s trial are in progress, with the crypto community and beyond eagerly awaiting insights into alleged fraud at FTX and the anticipated testimony of former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison.
In a hearing held on 27 September, Judge Lewis approved certain procedural motions, allowing SBF to wear a suit during the trial and permitting the use of an air-gapped laptop in the courtroom for note-taking.
What Is SBF’s Trial Schedule Like?
SBF is facing two separate trials.
The first, scheduled for 3 October, will involve seven charges related to the alleged misuse of customer funds in October.
A second trial is slated for March 2024, encompassing an additional five charges. SBF has entered a plea of not guilty for all counts.
Although SBF’s trial is officially set to commence on 3 October, the opening arguments are projected to begin on the following day, as indicated by a recently released court trial calendar.
This calendar outlines the trial schedule, spanning most of October and the initial weeks of November, with a few breaks during this period due to holidays and court recesses.
Judge Lewis, presiding over the trial, has requested the prosecution and defense to estimate the duration of their respective cases.
The Department of Justice anticipates its case lasting four to five weeks, while SBF’s defense, represented by Mark Cohen, foresees a more streamlined presentation, possibly extending to a week and a half.
It is worth noting that the trial calendar may be subject to extensions, but there appears to be a consensus that the proceedings will conclude by Thanksgiving in late November.