Sam Bankman-Fried's New Lawyer Calls 100-Year Sentence 'Grotesque', Argue for Leniency in Memo



Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team called the 100-year sentence recommended by the jury “grotesque” in a court filing on Tuesday.

Bankman-Frid has hired a new team of lawyers, headed by Marc Mukasey, to represent him at his sentencing on March 28 in Manhattan. Mukasey has previously represented former U.S. president Donald Trump and members of the Trump Organizations.

Now just days after taking him on as a client, Mukasey and his team have filed a 121-page sentencing memo asking that he face no more than six and a half years in prison.

The 31-year-old former CEO of crypto exchange FTX was found guilty on all seven wire fraud and conspiracy charges on November 2, 2023. They carry a maximum sentence of 110 years.

He founded and was ultimately held responsible for the collapse of his crypto empire. At its peak, FTX was valued at more than $32 billion. But when the company filed for bankruptcy on November 11, 2022, it owed $3.1 billion to its 50 largest creditors and at least $5 billion more to its nine million customers and smaller creditors.

Bankman-Fried has been incarcerated at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since last summer. An unnamed person with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times that Bankman-Fried has been sharing crypto market tips with the guards and recommended they invest in Solana.

Bankman-Fried and his firms, FTX and trading firm Alameda Research, were heavily invested in Solana. At their peak, the ex-CEO and his companies accounted for more than 60 million SOL—which accounted for roughly 10% of the total supply.

In the Tuesday memo, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers rebuffed comparisons that have been made between the one-time crypto mogul and American financier Bernie Madoff, who defrauded thousands of investors and netted billions of dollars over decades. In the memo, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argue that because FTX customers are projected to make a full recovery, there are “there will be no actual losses in this case, as Sam had contended was true from the beginning.”

FTX’s bankruptcy estate said in court at the end of January that customers who can prove their losses are expected to be repaid in full. After selling off more of its crypto holdings, the estate has increased its cash reserves to $4.4 billion.

The lawyers also argued in the memo that even as a billionaire, Bankman-Fried did not live a lavish lifestyle.

“Sam has always lived a very modest life. Even as a billionaire, he drove the most basic car that was available. He wore ragged t-shirts and shorts,” they wrote. “He cooked most of his own meals, usually frying…vegan meat with sparse vegetables.”



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