It’s been a bit tricky keeping up with the criminal case against crypto-currency (alleged) fraudster and Democrat mega-donor Sam Bankman-Fried. After the collapse of the crypto-currency exchange he founded in November 2022, Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas in December after the United States notified Bahamian authorities that formal charges had been filed against him and a request for extradition was likely on the way. Initially, eight charges were filed against Bankman-Fried, including defrauding FTX customers, committing wire fraud on both lenders and customers, conspiring to commit securities fraud and money laundering, and violating campaign finance laws.
After a brief stint in a Bahamian jail, Bankman-Fried was extradited to the United States. A superseding indictment, including 12 charges, was filed later in December.
The new indictment accuses him of securities fraud, wire fraud, and multiple conspiracy counts related to wire fraud on FTX customers and Alameda’s lenders; illegal campaign contributions; money laundering; operating an unlicensed money transmitting business; and bank fraud.
In June, several of the charges were severed. As Brittany Sheehan explained at the time:
In a surprising turn of events, federal prosecutors in New York have made the decision to sever a number of criminal charges against FTX crypto executive Sam Bankman-Fried, with the possibility of trying him on those charges at a later date. This decision comes in response to a recent ruling in the Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried can challenge the additional charges. In a ruling on Thursday, a judge granted the request from prosecutors to split the high-profile criminal trial into two separate proceedings due to concerns that a Bahamian court’s review could cause delays.
Bankman-Fried’s legal team has raised objections to the legitimacy of the five additional charges, arguing that they were not included in the original extradition agreement from the Bahamas, where FTX was headquartered. The challenge presented by his attorneys will be reviewed by a court in the Bahamas. During the hearing, prosecutor Nathan Rehn acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding the Bahamas’ decision on whether to consent to the new charges, which involve allegations of bank fraud and a $40 million bribe to the Chinese government to unfreeze a bank account.
Then, at the end of July, five charges related to campaign finance violations were dropped — but not permanently. Streiff had the rundown on that:
The technical reprieve Bankman-Fried received on the campaign finance violations may not be worth very much to him.
John P. Fishwick Jr., a former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, said prosecutors still had “overwhelming evidence against Sam Bankman-Fried.” He added that the removal of the campaign finance charge could work to the government’s advantage by making it a simpler fraud case to present to a jury.
The government intends to charge Bankman-Fried on the five counts dropped in June. It continues to litigate the campaign finance cases in the Bahamas. It remains to be seen how aggressive they will be as the names of the beneficiaries will include such notables as Democrat Majority Leader and Speaker-in-waiting Hakeem Jeffries.
Streiff was exactly right that the reprieve was technical (and likely temporary). On Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan (if the name sounds familiar, it may be because he’s the same judge presiding over both of the lawsuits involving E. Jean Carroll’s civil claims against Donald Trump) informing him that they intend to file a superseding indictment against Bankman-Fried next week.
United States v. Samuel Bankman-Fried
DOJ informs Judge Kaplan and SBF that it intends to file a superseding indictment against SBF next week.
“The superseding indictment will make clear that Mr. Bankman-Fried remains charged with conducting an illegal campaign finance scheme… pic.twitter.com/3Bu8CWqzh3
— Just Human (@realjusthuman) August 8, 2023
Per the letter, the superseding indictment will contain seven counts, consisting of the first seven counts of the original indictment, as the eighth count runs afoul of U.S. treaty obligations with the Bahamas. The letter goes on to state:
The superseding indictment will make clear that Mr. Bankman-Fried remains charged with conducting an illegal campaign finance scheme as part of the fraud and money laundering schemes originally charged. The defendant’s use of customer deposits to conduct a political influence campaign was part of the wire fraud scheme charged in the original indictment. And as part of the originally charged money laundering scheme, the defendant also concealed the source of his fraudulent proceeds through political straw donations. As the Government will outline in its forthcoming motions in limine, the evidence of the defendant’s campaign finance conduct is admissible at trial as direct proof of the Trial Charges.
If I’m reading between the lines correctly, the DOJ has found a workaround for the snafu created by the incongruity between the pre-extradition charges and the post-extradition charges. The trial is currently set for October. In the meantime, RedState will provide updates as they become available.