HomeTop StoriesJailed FTX founder Bankman-Fried to return to court for a new plea

Jailed FTX founder Bankman-Fried to return to court for a new plea

By Luke Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is due to appear in court on Tuesday for the first time since a US judge revoked his bail and sent him to prison, and will go to are expected to plead not guilty to a new charge of fraud and conspiracy.

The 31-year-old ex-billionaire has been behind bars since Aug. 11, when Manhattan District Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked his bail for allegedly tampering with witnesses on at least two occasions.

Bankman-Fried, who pleaded not guilty to three previous charges, is expected to be transferred to Manhattan federal court from Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, which has become notorious for conditions public defenders have called “inhumane.” His lawyers have asked Kaplan to release him five days a week to review evidence at the courthouse, arguing that otherwise he would not be able to adequately prepare for his October 2 trial.

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Kaplan said in a written order that he would allow Bankman-Fried to meet his lawyers at the courthouse with an internet-enabled laptop for about six and a half hours on Tuesday.

Bankman-Fried was jailed after sharing the personal writings of his former romantic partner and colleague, Caroline Ellison, with a New York Times reporter.

Ellison, who was CEO of Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund Alameda Research, is one of three former members of his circle who have pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against him at trial.

Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried stole billions of dollars in FTX client funds to cover losses at Alameda, buy lavish real estate and donate more than $100 million to US political campaigns in an effort to promote crypto-friendly legislation.

Bankman-Fried has acknowledged risk management flaws at FTX, but denied stealing money.

Lawyers for Bankman-Fried announced that he may also file a defense opinion during the trial, prosecutors said in court filings Friday. The defendant has previously said that advice from Silicon Valley law firm Fenwick & West about behaviors such as FTX’s use of disappearing messages led him to believe his activity was overboard.

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Fenwick & West declined to comment.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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