The ex-FTX Chief Executive Officer, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), won’t be getting an early release from jail following a ruling by a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. His argument for early release, primarily based on First Amendment issues, was termed “unpersuasive”.
On September 21, Circuit Judges John Walker Jr., Denny Chin, and William Nardini denied SBF’s motion for an early release. The team convinced that District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan properly determined SBF’s actions as equivalent to witness tampering.
Exposed details revealed a meticulous assessment by the district court, taking into account Bankman-Fried’s conduct over time, which led to several stringent measures for his release conditions. The court also examined a less restrictive alternative suggested by SBF to limit his interactions with the media, but it concluded this option to be insufficient in the long run.
The judges concluded that SBF failed to challenge the presumption in favor of detention satisfactorily. They also reviewed additional defenses presented but found them to be unconvincing.
SBF previously accepted that he had leaked personal journals of ex-Alameda Research Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Ellison, to a New York Times reporter leading to publication of some journal content. The prosecution saw this as a case of witness intimidation. SBF’s defense team also argued for his early release, citing inconsistent internet access interfering with his criminal trial preparations.
SBF’s legal prospects hung in the balance following a September 19 hearing. The justice department and his defense team had a brief period to state their cases for continued detention and early release, respectively. After the revocation of SBF’s $250-million bail by Judge Kaplan on August 11, he was held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
This ruling was perhaps one of the final opportunities for SBF’s early release ahead of his initial criminal trial scheduled for October 3, with another trial expected to commence in March 2024. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.