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Judge Denies Sam Bankman-Fried’s Request for Adjournment of Sentencing Hearing

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U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has denied a request for adjournment made by Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX. 

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s request for a four-to-six-week adjournment of his sentencing hearing has been denied by Judge Lewis Kaplan. The proposal, made on December 20 through a letter, sought to delay his presentencing interview scheduled for Thursday, December 21, and the sentencing hearing set for March 28, 2024.

Bankman-Fried, found guilty on seven charges in November, is scheduled for sentencing on March 28, facing a maximum sentence of 110 years in prison.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, argued that the defence needed more time to prepare for the presentencing interview. They also aimed to use the extra time to prepare for potential charges dropped from the initial trial, with a second trial scheduled for March 11. The defence also suggested planned disclosures for the presentence investigation report to be January 5, 2024, and February 2, 2024.

However, the government had yet to confirm whether it would proceed with a second trial on the five charges he objected to because they were not part of the original indictment leading to his extradition from the Bahamas.

The charges in the second trial allege that Bankman-Fried gave around $100 million to politicians in an illegal campaign finance scheme. The government initially dropped these charges after the Bahamas didn’t extradite Bankman-Fried on the charge. 

However, the lawyer argued that the sentencing process should begin once the dropped counts are resolved. If the trial on the severed charges occurs on March 11, 2024, Cohen suggested that combining all relevant conduct in a single sentencing hearing would be fair and efficient.

“We submit that Mr Bankman-Fried should not begin the sentencing process on the counts of conviction, including the presentence interview until the severed counts are resolved,” Cohen wrote. “Doing so could potentially result in a separate PSR and a separate sentencing hearing on conduct that was already part of the government’s proof at trial. For fairness and efficiency, the Court should consider the relevant conduct all at once in a single sentencing hearing.”

District Judge Lewis Kaplan, overseeing the case in the Southern District of New York, rejected the request, stating that the defence had not objected to the sentencing date when it was initially set. He noted that Bankman-Fried had already had over six weeks to prepare for the presentence interview, which will proceed as scheduled, and he had already received one extension for filing sentencing submissions.

Judge Lewis wrote,

“The defendant’s application, dated December 20, 2023, to adjourn the sentencing date and to postpone the dates for the first and second disclosures of the PSR is denied. The sentencing date was fixed without objection from the defendant. The defendant already has been granted one extension for the filing of sentencing submissions. The defendant already has had over six weeks in which to prepare for the presentence interview, which shall take place tomorrow as scheduled.”

However, the judge acknowledged that sentencing could be delayed if the Department of Justice chooses to proceed with a second trial on bank fraud and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act conspiracy charges.

FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Found Guilty on Seven Counts of Fraud in Historic Crypto-Related Financial Scandal

On November 7, Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty on all seven counts of fraud for misusing billions in customer funds before FTX collapsed in bankruptcy in November 2022. The charges include two counts of wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of securities fraud, one count of commodities fraud conspiracy, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. 

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, described Bankman-Fried’s crimes as “a multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the king of crypto” and one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.

Other key FTX executives, including former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and former FTX engineering head Nishad Singh, pleaded guilty to various charges and testified against Bankman-Fried during the trial.

He has been detained at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center since a judge revoked his bail in August after claims that he attempted to tamper with witnesses.

However, Bankman-Fried had pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintained his innocence during the trial, attributing FTX’s November 2022 collapse to “a number of big mistakes” but denying any wrongdoing in the relationship between FTX and Alameda. He attempted to distance himself from key decisions and placed blame on other executives for certain functions and risk management lapses.

The post Judge Denies Sam Bankman-Fried’s Request for Adjournment of Sentencing Hearing appeared first on Cryptonews.

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