Jail is not agreeing with vegan Sam Bankman-Fried, as lawyers express concern about access to suitable food, medicine in Brooklyn jail
Lawyers for former crypto multi-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried have expressed their concern over his living conditions, after he was sent to jail for alleged witness tampering.
US prosecutors had accused Bankman-Fried of witness tampering and US District Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed that a New York Times article titled “Inside the Private Writings of Caroline Ellison, Star Witness in the FTX Case”, meant detention and not bail was in order.
Bread and water
Bankman-Fried is being held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center until his criminal trial begins on 2 October.
Now Bankman-Fried’s legal team told a federal judge that the former crypto billionaire was “subsisting on bread and water” and “sometimes peanut butter,” because the jail can’t accommodate his vegan diet, CNBC reported.
They said he had only been offered the standard “flesh meals.”
Mark Cohen, an attorney on the case, reportedly added that Bankman-Fried had not received any doses of his prescribed medication Adderall, a treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, since being remanded to custody 11 days ago.
Cohen reportedly said his client only had a “limited” and “dwindling” supply of Emsam, a transdermal patch for treating depression.
Judge Lewis Kaplan had told a jail to provide these prescribed medications to Bankman-Fried, CNBC noted.
An earlier request from Bankman-Fried’s lawyers reportedly included a letter from his psychiatrist, George Lerner, who has been treating the former FTX CEO since February 2019.
“Mr. Bankman-Fried has a history of Major Depressive Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” Lerner was quoted as writing.
Without his medication, Lerner warned, “Bankman-Fried will experience a return of his depression and ADHD symptoms and will be severely negatively impacted in his ability to assist in his own defense.”
Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn said she would look into these issues immediately and aim to have a solution by the end of the day, CNBC reported.
Christian Everdell, another attorney on Bankman-Fried’s legal team, told Netburn there are “serious Sixth Amendment issues” involving Bankman-Fried not being able to prepare and participate in his defense with only six weeks until trial.
Bankman-Fried has been unable to gain access to the internet and a laptop, CNBC reported.
His lawyers have argued that with their client in jail, he will not be able to properly prepare for his trial due to the mountainous amounts of discovery documents only accessible via a computer connected to the internet.
Judge Netburn said the defense would have to make trial preparation requests through Judge Kaplan.
On Monday, Judge Kaplan granted Bankman-Fried and his attorneys permission to work out of the courthouse at 500 Pearl Street in Manhattan, New York, immediately following Tuesday’s arraignment, CNBC reported.
Judge Netburn said she would address concerns over Bankman-Fried’s living conditions directly with the US Justice Department’s Bureau of Prisons, which runs the jail.