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Sam-Bankman Fried's Request for Temporary Release Denied by US Judge

by BSC News

September 13, 2023

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The court concludes that it is unimpressed by Fried's arguments, and he will remain in detention as his trial date approaches.

Summary 

  • US Judge Lewis Kaplan denies Sam-Bankman Fried's request for temporary release. 
  • Despite complaints about limited preparation time, Fried and his legal team initially agreed to an October trial date and declined an offer to postpone it for further preparations.
  • The court dismissed Fried's claim that he needed to personally review all discovery materials, citing that he has a substantial legal team and does not have the right to inspect every piece of evidence.

Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center will continue to house Sam-Bankman Fried after US Judge Lewis Kaplan denied his recent request for a temporary release. A court filing made public on September 12 lays out the reasons behind the refusal to grant a pretrial bail.

According to the document, the FTX founder was brought to court on December 22, 2023, and enjoyed nearly 7.5 months of bail before landing behind bars on August 11, 2023. During this period, he lived at his parents' home and had full access to the internet and his Electronic Stored Information (ESI). Judge Kaplan stressed that any hindrances, including the lack of internet access that Fried now faces, did not exist during those months. 

“Thus, whatever impediments defendant may have experienced in preparing for trial since August 11, he faced no such impediments during the roughly 7-1/2 months between his presentment to this Court and the revocation of his bail,” the document read. 

Adding to the court's skepticism, Fried and his legal team had previously agreed to the upcoming October trial date. They even turned down the judge's offer to delay the trial for further preparations after complaints. 

Further, the court also dismissed Sam-Bankman Fried's claims that he needed to examine every piece of discovery in the case personally. The judge cited that Fried has a robust legal team and plans to call seven expert witnesses during the trial. Legal precedents affirm that a defendant, particularly one detained before the trial, doesn't have the unrestricted right to scrutinize every element of discovery. 

In the court's words, “Defendant is represented by a substantial team of extremely able retained lawyers. He proposes to call at trial seven expert witnesses. And no represented defendant, much less a defendant detained pretrial in order to protect the public, has a constitutional or other right to inspect every bit of discovery.”

Court Finds Defendant’s Arguments Unconvincing

Ultimately, Judge Kaplan found Fried's claims lacking in detail and credibility. The judge concluded that any difficulties or limitations faced by the defendant are mostly self-imposed, and with a strong legal team, he has adequate resources to mount a defense. 

The court's decision sends a clear message that it is unimpressed by Fried's arguments, and he will remain in detention as his trial date approaches.

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