FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been denied a bid for pretrial release ahead of his trial in the United States on fraud charges stemming from the implosion of his cryptocurrency empire.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers had argued that conditions at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center had prevented him from preparing an adequate defence ahead of his October 3 trial.
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On Tuesday, Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that any difficulties Bankman-Fried faced in reviewing prosecutors’ evidence against him were “of his own making”.
Kaplan said in a written ruling that Bankman-Friend had not requested a delay in his trial despite the judge’s offer to consider such a request.
Kaplan also said that Bankman-Friend had not specified which materials he had been unable to access and that no defendant is entitled to review every piece of evidence in discovery.
“Defendant is represented by a substantial team of extremely able retained lawyers,” Kaplan wrote.
Bankman-Fried had his bail revoked in August after Kaplan found that the 31-year-old had likely tampered with witnesses, including his former romantic partner and colleague Caroline Ellison.
Bankman-Fried has argued that he shared Ellison’s personal writings with a New York Times reporter to safeguard his reputation, not to pressure Ellison.
A three-judge panel from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is separately considering an appeal against the revocation of Bankman-fried’s bail.
Ellison, who led Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund Alameda Research, has pleaded guilty to fraud and is expected to testify against her former partner.
US prosecutors accuse Bankman-Fried of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to cover losses at Alameda Research, buy property and make political donations.
Bankman-Fried, who has acknowledged poor risk management at FTX but denied stealing funds, has pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against him.
Before the spectacular collapse of FTX last year, Bankman-Fried was one of the most influential and celebrated names in the digital assets sector, gracing magazine covers and earning the moniker the “King of Crypto”.