As the US regulators tighten the belt on the cryptocurrency industry, legal experts believe SBF attorneys will have a challenging time freeing proving his innocence
The defense lawyers representing former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) swung into action to prove the innocence of their client after new fraud charges were arraigned during a court hearing on Tuesday. Notably, SBF pleaded not guilty to fraud charges accusing him of misappropriating customers’ funds for his gains including purchasing real estate and engaging in political donations. Worth noting that the recent SBF charges were from the original indictment filed late last year after the prosecutors highlighted that they could not explicitly bring the charges due to treaty obligations with the Bahamas.
The Tuesday hearing under Magistrate Judge Sarah Neburn shed significant light on what the October 2 trial will entail. Meanwhile, the defense attorneys requested the court to allow a meeting with SBF and have access to an internet-enabled laptop. Furthermore, one of the defense attorneys, Christian Everdel, argued that SBF’s Sixth Amendment rights were being violated, and he needed access to the discovery documents to enable an effective trial.
“There is no way for him to effectively communicate his work product, his analyses to us,” he said. “He needs to be performing analyses.”
However, Danielle Kudla, an assistant US attorney, noted that the issue had been communicated with Judge Kaplan prior to the hearing, and was rejected.
Meanwhile, the defense attorneys also focused on SBF’s well-being at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, where he was detained earlier this month following reports of bail violations. The defense team argued that the prison’s lack of vegan options has pushed SBF to only have bread and water meals. Additionally, the lawyers noted that the prison failed to provide SBF with proper medication including Adderall, a drug commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and EMSAM, which is a prescribed antidepressant.
Is SBF Fighting a Losing Battle?
The United States financial regulators have significantly increased their focus on the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry since the implosion of FTX and Alameda Research last year. Existing cryptocurrency firms led by Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ: COIN) and Binance have highlighted the difficulties in obtaining proper digital asset exchange licenses in the country. Moreover, the US SEC has continued to argue that most digital assets fall under unregistered securities. This was mostly evident after the SEC filed a motion to certify an interlocutory appeal for the summary judgment in regard to the Ripple case.
As the US regulators tighten the belt on the cryptocurrency industry, legal experts believe SBF attorneys will have a challenging time freeing proving his innocence. Moreover, several FTX executives including Nishad Singh, former director of engineering, Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX, have all pleaded guilty to the fraud charges and agreed to work with the prosecutors. In exchange for their cooperation, the prosecutors have promised them reduced sentencing.