- Sam Bankman-Fried had filed a motion for early release; however, the application was rejected by a three-judge panel of the United States Court.
- The judge presiding over SBF’s criminal case was found to have “correctly determined” that SBF’s remarks constituted witness tampering.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, had filed a motion for early release; however, the application was rejected by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Circuit Judges John Walker Jr., Denny Chin, and William Nardini rejected SBF’s request for early release in a ruling dated September 21. His legal team said the decision was mostly based on First Amendment concerns.
According to the decision, Lewis Kaplan, the judge presiding over SBF’s criminal case, was found to have “correctly determined” that SBF’s remarks constituted witness tampering.
The record demonstrates that the district court carefully considered all pertinent considerations, including SBF’s pattern of behavior over time, which necessitated the “district court to repeatedly tighten the conditions of release,” according to the ruling of September 21.
Additionally, it demonstrates that the district court considered the less onerous alternative by SBF—an order restricting his press interactions—but properly concluded that this was not “a workable solution long term.” The judges asserted:
“the district court did not err in concluding that had failed to rebut the presumption in favor of detention. We have reviewed additional arguments and find them unpersuasive.”
SBF previously acknowledged giving a New York Times writer access to former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison’s private journals, which resulted in part of their contents being published.
Prosecutors characterized this action as witness intimidation. The lack of reliable Internet connectivity prohibited SBF from putting up a strong defense for his criminal trial, according to the arguments made by his attorneys in support of his early release from custody.
After a hearing on September 19, in which the Justice Department and SBF’s defense team each got about five minutes to argue for the former FTX CEO’s continued detention in jail or early release, respectively, the court had been debating on the topic.
On August 11, Judge Kaplan revoked SBF’s $250 million bond, at which point the Brooklyn, New York, Metropolitan Detention Center was given custody of him.
SBF’s first criminal trial is set to start on October 3, less than two weeks from now, and the appellate court decision was probably one of his last opportunities to be set free. In March 2024, his second trial is anticipated to begin. For each charge, he has entered a not-guilty plea.