Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyer renews request for temporary release from jail

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The lawyer representing Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) in his upcoming case against the United States Department of Justice submitted a renewed request for his temporary release from jail in order to prepare for the trial.

On Sept. 25, Mark Cohen requested that Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is presiding over the case, allow SBF temporary release as it is “necessary for preparation of [his] defense.”

“We submit that we are finding it exceedingly difficult as a practical matter to adequately prepare for trial with the restrictions on access currently in place.”

He continued by saying the government had presented the defense with 50 witnesses and thousands of pieces of material and exhibits. Cohen said they wouldn’t be able to “properly represent” SBF without the ability to confer with him and prepare for the witnesses and exhibits outside of the courtroom.

Cohen petitioned that the case is “highly technical and complex,” and the legal team needs their client to help them understand certain complexities of the case. He wrote that SBF’s “knowledge and insight cannot be replicated by third-party experts.” 

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The renewed terms of the temporary release include, when not in the courtroom, SBF must either be in the presence of his attorneys at their worksite or accompanied by a bodyguard in a temporary residence in New York City. 

It also stated that SBF would consent to a gag order for the duration of the trial, which will prohibit him from speaking with anyone except his attorneys and defense team, his parents and his brother.

On Sept. 21, a three-judge panel denied the former FTX CEO’s request for early release from jail and called the arguments made by the lawyers in the motion for release “unpersuasive.”

The same day, Kaplan granted in limine motions from the prosecutors, which will now bar certain witnesses from testifying on the side of SBF in the upcoming criminal trial.

Bankman-Fried’s first criminal trial is scheduled for Oct. 3, at which he will face seven criminal charges related to misuse of user funds at FTX and Alameda Research. The second trial will be in March 2024, when he will face five additional criminal charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

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