In a pivotal development, a judge has denied the defence’s plea to postpone the detention of Sam Bankman-Fried, posing potential setbacks in his trial preparation.
Bankman-Fried, once a billionaire at 31, faces accusations of embezzling billions from FTX customers to offset losses within his Alameda Research hedge fund.
While asserting his innocence, he had been under house arrest on a $250 million bond since his December apprehension at his parent’s residence in Palo Alto, California.
The court decision resulted in Bankman-Fried’s immediate detention, a poignant scene witnessed by his parents, distinguished law professors at Stanford University.
As the US Marshals led him away in restraints, his mother’s tearful nod and his father’s heartfelt gesture underscored the emotional turmoil surrounding the trial.
The catalyst for the prosecution’s push to incarcerate Bankman-Fried was his alleged sharing of personal writings from his former partner, Caroline Ellison, with a New York Times journalist.
This action, deemed by prosecutors as crossing ethical boundaries, raised concerns about the defendant’s compliance with bail terms, which included monitored communication.
Judge Kaplan’s verdict highlights the gravity of the trial’s impending proceedings. Bankman-Fried’s ability to mount a robust defence might now be compromised by his detention, making it a pivotal moment in the unfolding legal saga.
“It was a way, in his view, of doing this in a manner in which he was least likely to be caught,” Kaplan added. “He was covering his tracks.”
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys contest prosecutors’ interpretation of his sharing Ellison’s writings, claiming he aimed to protect his reputation and uphold press communication rights.
Ellison and two others in his inner circle have admitted guilt for fraud and are cooperating with the US Attorney’s Office. Ellison is expected to testify against Bankman-Fried in his October 2nd trial.