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Court Denies Sam Bankman-Fried Requests for Pretrial Jail Release

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The US Judge in charge of Sam Bankman-Fried’s case has denied the former FTX CEO’s repeated requests for a temporary release from jail to make adequate preparations ahead of his upcoming trial.

Sam Bankman-Fried, who maintains his not-guilty plea to all charges levied against him, is scheduled to appear in court in October.

No Pretrial Jail Release for Bankman-Fried

In a court filing on Tuesday (Sept. 12, 2023), Judge Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Sam Bankman-Fried did not provide solid arguments regarding the request for a pretrial jail release.

Giving reasons for the refusal, Judge Kaplan said Bankman-Fried’s claim about not getting enough internet access in prison to prepare for his trial fell short, stating that the former FTX boss had “extensive access” after his initial release on bail before the said bail was revoked.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers previously stated in a Sept. 8 letter that the former crypto mogul was not getting very limited access to an “internet-enabled laptop.” Kaplan, in the recent filing, however, said, “The defendant has not made any detailed showing as to specific materials that he claims he has not been able to access personally and the reasons why any such personal inability actually would impede his defense.”

According to the District Judge, Bankman-Fried’s legal team could provide necessary materials on hard drives for review to their client in the MDC. Also, Kaplan said that no represented defendant had any right to review and inspect every bit of discovery.

Furthermore, the judge noted that the court offered Bankman-Fried the opportunity to adjourn his trial date slated for Oct. 3 to give more time but said that no official request has been made for a possible postponement.

An excerpt from the ruling reads:

“Whatever time pressure the defendant now claims to face given the imminence of the trial date and the claimed limitations on his access to ESI while incarcerated largely would be of his own making.”

Time Running Out for Former FTX CEO?

With roughly three weeks left for Bankman-Fried’s trial, the recent ruling means that the FTX co-founder would remain behind bars until the October hearing.

However, his legal team could still make more requests for Bankman-Fried’s pretrial release, with Kaplan stating that “this ruling does not foreclose a further application on a more factually grounded and persuasive showing.”

The US government recently released its proposed questions for the examination of prospective jurors, with some of the questions asking if potential jurors had any investment with the collapsed exchange, knowledge about the case, and direct or indirect dealings with FTX, Alameda Research, and associated entities.

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