On Friday, a United States judge revoked the bail of FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, as he found probable cause that the indicted former CEO of the crypto exchange had engaged in witness tampering.
The decision was announced by Judge Lewis Kaplan in a hearing in Manhattan’s federal court and the founder of the now-defunct FTX would be going to jail, with less than two months remaining in his trial.
The US District Judge also turned down a request of the defense to delay the detention of the disgraced entrepreneur until their appeal of the revocation.
The decision could make trial preparations difficult for Bankman-Fried, as the 31-year old is facing charges of stealing billions of dollars in customer funds from the FTX exchange to cover losses in its sister trading company, Alameda Research.
The former billionaire has opted to plead not guilty to the charges levied against him. Members of the US Marshals Service led Bankman-Fried out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
His pockets were emptied and his tie, jacket, and shoelaces were removed. His expression was completely blank.
Both of his professors were also present in the courtroom, who teaches law at Stanford University. Barbara Fried, his mother, had tears in her eyes when he left.
As for his father, Joseph Bankman, kept his hand over his heart while Bankman-Fried was led away from the courtroom.
Since he was arrested last year in December, Bankman-Fried has been staying in Palo Alto, California, at his parent’s home, after he was released on a bond worth $250 million.
The request for revoking Bankman-Fried’s bail had been made last month by federal prosecutors, who claimed that he had engaged in witness tampering.
This was after Bankman-Fried shared details of the personal diary of Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, with a reporter for the New York Times.
Ellison has pled guilty to fraud, along with two other members of the inner circle of the former FTX CEO, and is cooperating with the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
She is expected to appear as a witness in Bankman-Fried’s trial that is scheduled to begin on October 2nd.
Bail conditions and request
Prosecutors were permitted to monitor SBF’s internet and telephone activity, as stated in his bail conditions.
According to Kaplan, he was concerned that the diary writings had been shown to the reporter in an in-person meeting between him and SBF.
The judge said that he had done so in a way that minimized the chances of him being caught. He said that Bankman-Fried had tried to cover his tracks.
Kaplan does not tolerate any nonsense in his courtroom and had recently dealt with lawsuits like the sexual abuse case against Prince Andrew of Britain.
When the judge issued the order of his detention, Bankman-Fried was sitting with his shoulders hunched and fidgeted with a Post-it note.
Mark Cohen, his attorney, argued that his client had only been defending his own reputation and not tampering with any witnesses when he shared the diary writings.