In an intriguing twist to the ongoing saga of Sam Bankman-Fried, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested the court dismiss the defense’s claims of erroneous counsel as a rebuttal to accusations of fraudulent activities at FTX. The former cryptocurrency magnate’s defense argues that Bankman-Fried’s actions, which led to his subsequent downfall, were based on the advice given by a previous legal team.
The justice department has countered this argument, stating that such claims are irrelevant, misleading, and introducing prejudice. They further allege that Bankman-Fried had intentionally misled Silvergate Bank to secure a banking account for his company, North Dimension. The involvement of his lawyers, as per the DOJ, was significant only if they were privy to his plan to use the account for unlawful activities.
The prosecution’s standpoint was also echoed when addressing the utilization of auto-deleting Signal messages by FTX staff and questionable loan agreements alleged to have misused customer funds. Responding to these allegations, the ex-crypto head’s defense team insisted that they’ve already provided sufficient disclosures concerning their defense strategy while voicing concerns about their client’s jail conditions and their potential violation of Bankman-Fried’s constitutional rights.
Bankman-Fried’s struggle with legal troubles began following the collapse of his platform in November 2022. He faces multiple fraud charges, with his trial set for October. While initially released on a $250 million bond, Bankman-Fried found himself back in jail following an attempt to contact a witness and leak another witness’s diary. His lawyers recently requested a temporary release for him to build his defense at the federal courthouse in Manhattan from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where he is currently detained.
On the other hand, prosecutors are worried about his compliance with the regulations pertaining to his defense, alleging a lack of necessary information detailing the advice he used to justify his actions. The ex-FTX head also faces new allegations from the DOJ, including the misappropriation of customer funds. An indictment filed earlier this month accuses Bankman-Fried of diverting customer deposits from FTX to contribute over $100 million to political campaigns ahead of the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.
The document elaborates that Bankman-Fried was well aware of FTX’s financial shortfall but chose to use the diverted money for his personal investments, acquisitions, and campaign contributions, painting an unsettling picture of the direction the crypto market could take without stringent regulations.