April 19, 2024
Bankman-Fried Denied Bail
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Former FTX CEO Sam ‘SBF’ Bankman-Fried Denied Bail Again Amidst Witness Tampering Concerns

The United States Attorney’s Office filed a statement reaffirming the denial of bail to former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried, citing concerns about witness tampering and the inability to ensure witness safety. Prosecutors referred to his appeal as “meritless” and presented evidence of his prior attempts at witness tampering, suggesting he wouldn’t comply with release conditions.

The first incident of SBF contacting witnesses occurred earlier this year when he reached out to FTX.US’s General Counsel, a potential trial witness. In a second instance in July 2023, private journal messages from Caroline Ellison, a former CEO of Alameda and SBF’s associate, were leaked. SBF’s counsel confirmed he was the source of the leak, and prosecutors argued that he did it to discredit Ellison and influence the jury’s perception.

On July 26, during a court conference, prosecutors requested SBF’s bail be revoked due to his violations of bail conditions and witness tampering attempts. Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked SBF’s bail on Aug. 11, even though he had been out on a $250 million bond since December 2022. SBF’s lawyers appealed the bail revocation on Aug. 28, claiming First Amendment protection for discussing Ellison with the press. However, prosecutors argued that First Amendment rights don’t apply when the intent is to intimidate or influence a witness.

Prosecutors presented two key arguments against SBF’s appeal: the District Court’s finding of probable cause for SBF’s two attempted witness tampering incidents during pretrial release was not in error, and Judge Kaplan’s determination of probable cause for SBF’s attempt to tamper with Witness 1 was also not in error.

Prosecutors further contended that the defendants failed to dispute the ruling regarding SBF’s attempt to influence the former FTX.US counsel, which the judge saw as a clear case of witness tampering.

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