US District Court Denies Sam Bankman-Fried’s Subpoena Request in Criminal Defense

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Key takeaways:

  • SBF attempted to use the legal firm Fenwick & West as evidence in his criminal defense, but the request was turned down.
  • SBF’s legal team had planned to claim that he had followed the counsel offered by Fenwick & West as part of his defense.

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the co-founder of FTX, was rejected his request for records from the Silicon Valley legal firm Fenwick & West LLP as part of his defense in his continuing federal fraud prosecution.

SBF had sought to use these records as evidence for his assertion that he relied on legal counsel when carrying out the actions for which he is currently being prosecuted.

In a recent development, SBF’s legal team spoke with the judge presiding over the case, pleading with the prosecution to turn over the records collected from Fenwick & West or to permit their direct acquisition through a subpoena. However, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court rejected the request, describing it as an unjustified “fishing expedition.”

SBF’s legal team had planned to claim that he had followed the counsel offered by Fenwick & West as part of his defense. According to Bloomberg, criminal defendants frequently use this tactic to refute the assertions of the prosecution that they intentionally broke the law. 

The Fenwick & West legal representative reportedly spoke about various subjects, including using encrypted messaging apps, multimillion-dollar loans to FTX executives, and adherence to US banking laws, all of which SBF’s attorneys have argued are crucial to the accusations made against their client.

SBF had been charged with organizing a sophisticated fraud scheme involving the theft of billions of dollars in FTX client cash and is currently the subject of two criminal proceedings. According to reports, the money was used for risky investments, individual spending, and possibly political payments.

On June 22, FTX filed a complaint in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware with the intention of suing investment firms connected to the company for more than $700 million. Michael Kives and Bryan Baum, co-owners of K5, as well as K5 Global, Mount Olympus Capital, and SGN Albany Capital and their related companies, are the targets of the action. In order to recover the funds as a result of unnecessary transactions, FTX claims that monies were transferred from its associated company, Alameda Research, to these organizations through shell companies.

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