The judge overseeing Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial has rejected the FTX founder’s plea for pretrial jail release.
In court filings published on Tuesday, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan detailed why he considers that Bankman-Fried’s arguments for pretrial release lacked substantial weight.
“Defendant largely ignores the fact that he had extensive access to most of the ESI (electronically stored discovery and other material) for 7 ½ months before his bail was revoked,” Kaplan stated.
Bankman-Fried’s defense team had argued that their client lacked appropriate internet access and sufficient time to prepare adequately for the trial, which is set to start on October 3.
Bankman-Fried faces seven charges relating to the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, encompassing wire fraud, securities and commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and illicit political finance activities.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“No right to inspect every bit of discovery”
On August 11, the court revoked Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail in mid-August on witness tampering concerns.
Before that, from December 2022 to August 2023, Bankman-Fried had been living at his parents’ residence in Palo Alto, enjoying unrestricted internet access.
Judge Kaplan explained that in his view, “there has been no persuasive showing that this did not permit him to prepare for trial except to the extent that some of the materials now available had not been produced by the government until recently.”
Additionally, Kaplan pointed out that newer materials, introduced subsequently, originated from SBF’s own Google accounts, implying their accessibility during that period.
Judge Kaplan also highlighted the fact that the trial was set to start in October following the defendant’s requests and that Bankman-Fried and his lawyers were offered the possibility for an adjournment of the trial, which they didn’t ask for.
On top of that, Judge Kaplan rejected the demands’ premise that Bankman-Fried needs to examine all the evidence by himself. “Defendant is represented by a substantial team of extremely able retained lawyers,” he wrote. “And no represented defendant, much less a defendant detained pretrial in order to protect the public, has a constitutional or other right to inspect every bit of discovery”.
The last argument justifying Kaplan’s rejection of Bankman-Fried’s request is the fact that the FTX founder hasn’t provided “any detailed showing as to specific materials that he claims he has been unable to access personally”.
Decrypt has reached out to Bankman-Fried’s legal team for comment.