Table of Contents
- SBF Pleads Not Guilty To New Fraud And Conspiracy Charges
- Complaints About Jail Food
- Preparations Underway For October Trial
Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to seven new charges brought against him in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.
The FTX founder was making an appearance in court after spending ten days in jail and also raised complaints about the food being served in jail.
SBF Pleads Not Guilty To New Fraud And Conspiracy Charges
The new charges, all related to fraud and conspiracy, were handed down on the 14th of August after prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried had used over $100 million of stolen customer funds and assets to donate to electoral candidates and politicians. The court had revoked his earlier bail after the United States Department of Justice alleged that the former CEO had repeatedly tried to influence witnesses and interfere with a fair trial through public shaming and harassment. This was Bankman-Fried’s first court appearance since his bail was revoked on the 11th of August. Since then, SBF has been in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn.
According to data from the Federal Election Commission, Bankman-Fried had reportedly given over $40 million in political donations in 2022. Other big donors from Bankman-Fried’s circle included Ryan Salame, former co-CEO, and Nishad Singh, the former director of engineering at FTX. Federal Election Commission data showed that Salame had donated over $23 million almost exclusively to Republican candidates and related PACs. Meanwhile, Nishad Singh had given around $8 million during the 2022 midterm election cycle.
Complaints About Jail Food
During his hearing, lawyers representing SBF informed the federal court that jail authorities had failed to provide him with a vegan diet as he had requested. Mark Cohen, the lawyer representing the former billionaire, stated that the lack of adequate food at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Centre was hampering Bankman-Fried’s preparations for his trial, which is set to begin in October. Mr. Cohen also told the court that his client was not provided with the attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) drug Adderall. He also added that his client’s supply of Emsam, used to treat depression, was running low.
Judge Sarah Netburn assured Mr. Cohen that she would ask the United States Justice Department’s Bureau of Prisons, which is in charge of running the jail, to address concerns related to SBF’s medication. She added that while she was reasonably confident that the prison offered vegetarian food, she was unsure if vegan food was available. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Prisons released a statement saying all inmates had access to appropriate medicines, healthcare, and hot meals. It further added that the facility ensures the provision of nutritionally healthy meals and follows the requirements of a national menu that is analyzed to ensure all dietary requirements are met.
Following the hearing, Bankman-Fried sought support from his mother, speaking to her at length.
“After the hearing, Bankman-Fried spoke to his mother, Stanford Law School Professor Barbara Fried, across the low partition between the courtroom well and the galley.”
Preparations Underway For October Trial
Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried and his legal team are working hard in preparation for his trial, set to begin in October. Lawyers representing SBF had even requested that he be allowed to stay out of jail on weekdays, arguing that this would allow them to focus on building a defense for the disgraced FTX founder. The judge refused to grant this request.
However, on the 22nd of August, Bankman-Fried was granted a short release from prison from 8:30 am to 3 pm. During his release, he was present in a supervised courtroom with his lawyers as they prepared for the upcoming trial. Meanwhile, the jury has also been issued guidelines by prosecutors on how to approach the trial. According to the guideline, the jury has to treat each of the seven charges differently. They were also requested not to let their verdict on one charge influence their decision on any of the other six charges.
FTX was the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, valued at around $32 billion. However, its bankruptcy sent shockwaves through the crypto and financial world and impacted several projects.
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