It’s been a busy legal news day, but developments in the cases involving Hunter Biden and former President Donald Trump aren’t the only ones grabbing headlines.
On Friday, Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked bond for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and ordered him remanded to custody.
As we reported, on Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to Judge Kapan, who’s presiding over the case in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, advising him that they intend to file a superseding indictment against Bankman-Fried next week.
A bond revocation hearing was held Friday afternoon, and the judge determined he should be remanded following evidence of witness tampering.
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ordered Bankman-Fried’s bail revoked after prosecutors said he’d tried to harass a key witness in his fraud case last month when he showed a journalist her private writings and in January when he reached out to the general counsel for FTX with an encrypted communication.
His lawyers insisted he shouldn’t be jailed for trying to protect his reputation against a barrage of unfavorable news stories.
Kaplan said he had concluded there was probable cause to believe Bankman-Fried had tried to “tamper with witnesses at least twice” since his December arrest.
Prosecutors moved to revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail and sought to have him incarcerated two weeks ago, contending that he had violated the conditions of his release.
Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail package severely restricts his internet and phone usage.
Two weeks ago, prosecutors surprised Bankman-Fried’s attorneys by demanding his incarceration, saying he violated those rules by giving The New York Times the private writings of Caroline Ellison, his former girlfriend and the ex-CEO of Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency trading hedge fund that was one of his businesses.
Prosecutors maintained he was trying to sully her reputation and influence prospective jurors who might be summoned for his October trial.
Ellison pleaded guilty in December to criminal charges carrying a potential penalty of 110 years in prison. She has agreed to testify against Bankman-Fried as part of a deal that could lead to a more lenient sentence.
Counsel for Bankman-Fried asked the judge to stay his ruling pending their appeal, but Judge Kaplan denied that request, so Bankman-Fried will now be held until his trial in October (unless the ruling is overturned by an appellate court).
Full text of the docket entry regarding Friday’s proceedings is included below.
Full docket text:
Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Lewis A. Kaplan:Bond Revocation Hearing as to Samuel Bankman-Fried held on 8/11/2023. Defendant present with attorneys Mark Stewart Cohen and Christian R. Everdell. AUSAs Danielle R. Sassoon, Nicholas Roos, Samuel Raymond, and Diane Kudla present. Pretrial Services Officer John Moscato present. Bond as to Samuel Bankman-Fried (1) Revoked and defendant ordered remanded. Defendant moved to stay the Court’s ruling on pending appeal, which was denied by the Court. (Court Reporter Eve Giniger) (Mohan, Andrew)