Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried are making another attempt to have the disgraced FTX founder temporarily released from jail before his October trial, claiming he needs better access to prepare his defense properly.
Lawyers Cite Bankman-Fried’s Indispensable Knowledge for Complex Trial Preparation
In a letter to U.S. judge Lewis Kaplan filed Monday, Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorneys argued that the current restrictions on meeting with their client at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) are “not workable” for a case this complex.
“This case is highly technical and complex, and we need our client to help us understand the facts and explain many of the issues,” lawyers state in the letter. “He alone knows the facts which are also critical in preparing his defense. Unfortunately, his knowledge and insight cannot be replicated by third-party experts as they are not familiar with the underlying facts and cannot provide the necessary help.”
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers say they need more time with him outside of jail in the evenings and weekends to go over each day’s testimony and exhibits. They claim that Bankman-Fried has indispensable knowledge of the facts that outside experts lack.
The lawyers further proposed strict conditions for Bankman-Fried’s release, including private security, no computers or phones, and a gag order prohibiting him from speaking with anyone but his lawyers and family. Bankman-Fried’s legal council says:
[A] security guard will remain with Mr. Bankman-Fried in the temporary residence throughout the evening and will ensure that Mr. Bankman-Fried does not have access to any computers, cell phones, the Internet, television, or any electronic devices. Mr. Bankman-Fried will not be permitted any visitors in his temporary residence.
This marks the third attempt to have Bankman-Fried released after Kaplan revoked his $250 million bail in December over concerns he could still access funds and flee. Kaplan has repeatedly denied requests for release, while acknowledging the challenges of preparing for a complex trial.
In their latest letter, the defense team notes this does not prevent them from applying again. They argue having insufficient access to Bankman-Fried could raise appellate issues. The lawyers say detaining Bankman-Fried during the trial will leave them little opportunity to confer outside of mornings.
If found guilty of fraud and money laundering, Bankman-Fried could serve a staggering 115 years behind bars. The jury selection kicks off on October 3, and the trial is anticipated to span anywhere from six weeks to several months.
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