The legal team representing Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of FTX, has chosen not to file any post-trial motions following his conviction on federal fraud charges on November 2nd. In a letter dated December 1st to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys conveyed this decision, stating, “After further consideration, we have decided not to file any post-trial motions. We reserve our rights to pursue any claims on appeal.”
The decision not to file post-trial motions suggests that Bankman-Fried’s defence is directing its efforts towards an appeal. Despite the conviction, his defence attorney, Mark Cohen, asserted Bankman-Fried’s innocence, stating, “Mr. Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him.”
The trial, spanning nearly a month, witnessed Bankman-Fried’s former associates and friends testifying against him. Allegations included providing special privileges to FTX’s sister company, Alameda Research, leading to a $65 billion line of credit misuse for real estate, political donations, and venture investments. The collapse of FTX in November 2022 left the crypto exchange indebted to customers with $8 billion.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams characterised the case as “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history” during a press conference, emphasising the severity of the charges, stating, “This case has always been about lying, cheating, and stealing, and we have no patience for it.”
Bankman-Fried faces a potential second trial scheduled for March 11th, 2024, pending approval from the Bahamian government. The additional charges include conspiracy to commit bank fraud, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, securities fraud against FTX investors, and operating as an unlicensed money transmitter business. Despite the impending second trial, Bankman-Fried is already facing a maximum penalty of over a century in prison, with sentencing set for March 28th, 2024.
The Department of Justice has until February 1st, 2024, to decide whether to proceed with Bankman-Fried’s second trial. The outcome remains uncertain, adding to the legal complexities surrounding the case.
Bankman-Fried’s incarceration at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center has not been without incidents, including reported attempts of extortion. Meanwhile, FTX’s financial challenges persist, with approximately $8.8 billion in liabilities. Recent transfers of $10.8 million in bitcoin assets from FTX and Alameda Research to prominent exchanges underscore the ongoing liquidation process, leaving the cryptocurrency community and financial markets in anticipation. The next hearing for Bankman-Fried is scheduled for February 8, 2024.