Legal team for former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried suggest they may need more time to prepare legal defence of their client
The legal team of former crypto multi-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried have suggested they seek to delay his trial.
Former CEO and co-founder of FTX, Bankman-Fried has been under house arrest with a $250 million bond, since he pleaded not guilty to eight federal fraud and conspiracy charges over his role in the collapse of the FTX crypto exchange, when a multi-billion dollar hole was found in its balance sheet.
Last month federal authorities levelled four more criminal charges against Bankman-Fried, alleging he facilitated hundreds of illegal political donations totalling tens of millions of dollars.
In total, Bankman-Fried now faces a total of 12 criminal charges, and if found guilty, could be sentenced to over 115 years in prison.
His trial is slated to begin on 2 October 2023.
It comes after two of his former associates (Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX) have pleaded guilty to similar charges and are now co-operating with the US government.
Now Reuters has reported that Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said on Wednesday it may be necessary to delay his scheduled 2 October criminal trial, arguing it may take more time than expected to review the evidence and prepare a defence.
According to Reuters, his lawyers in a a letter to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan alleged federal prosecutors in Manhattan had not yet turned over evidence collected from electronic devices belonging to Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang.
The lawyers also noted that US prosecutors added new fraud and conspiracy charges late last month, boosting the number of counts to twelve.
“While we are not making such an application at this time, we wanted to note this issue for the Court now,” Christian Everdell, one of Bankman-Fried’s lawyers, reportedly wrote in the letter.
A spokesman for the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment.
Last month Bankman-Fried was ordered to return to a Manhattan courtroom, after it emerged he had used a virtual private network (VPN) whilst under strict house arrest.
Bankman-Fried said he used the VPN to watch the super bowl and other sporting events.
US prosecutors have also recently alleged that as FTX began unravelling, Bankman-Fried instructed staff and fellow executives to communicate via the secure messaging app Signal, with messages set to auto delete after a period of time.
Judge Kaplan has suggested Bankman-Fried’s bail could be revoked after prosecutors said he may have tried to tamper with witnesses, Reuters reported.
Prosecutors over the weekend proposed Bankman-Fried remain free with strict limits on his use of technology.
The trial schedule and Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions are expected to be discussed at a court hearing on Friday.