Government Opposes Bankman-Fried’s Pre-Trial Release Request”

The request has been denied before, and the Court of Appeals upheld probable cause for tampering with witnesses.

Government Opposes Bankman-Fried's Pre-Trial Release Request"
Government Opposes Bankman-Fried's Pre-Trial Release Request"

The United States government sent a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan on September 27 expressing its opposition to Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) and his counsel’s request for temporary release from prison before his October 3 trial.

Later today, the judge will hear arguments from both parties. In its filing, the government requested that Kaplan deny SBF’s September 25th request.

The government stated that the defendant’s claim that he cannot “meaningfully participate” in his defense, which justifies his release, “does not outweigh the danger posed by such release conditions in light of the defendant’s prior course of conduct.”

The “danger” is described as a “threat to the community and/or flight.” It also said the renewed motion “recycles” generalized claims and cited two previous instances when the court objected to similar requests.

Multiple factors led to the denial of SBF’s request for immediate release pending trial on September 12.

Among others, these included “the defendant’s extensive access to electronic discovery for seven and a half months before his bail was revoked shortly before trial” and his failure to provide specifics regarding the materials he claims he cannot access.

On September 21, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied SBF’s request for release, deeming the arguments “unpersuasive.”

In this second denial, the Court of Appeals also upheld the conclusion that “there was probable cause to believe that the defendant attempted to tamper with two witnesses in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1512(b) and that he acted with unlawful intent to influence those witnesses.”

Against this “backdrop,” the government concurred that the reintroduced motion has the same flaws as the original. The criminal trial of Bankman-Fried is scheduled for October 3 in New York City.

During this proceeding, he will be charged with seven counts of fraud related to his tenure at FTX and Alameda Research.

In March 2024, he will face five additional charges in a distinct criminal proceeding. SBF has previously entered a not-guilty plea to all charges.