Judge to Sam Bankman-Fried: You’re Staying in Jail

Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried spent months under cushy pre-trial home confinement until he leaked unflattering documents about a likely witness and landed himself in jail. On Thursday, a judge rejected his latest effort to get out.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers had urged Judge Lewis Kaplan to grant their client a “temporary residence” for the duration of his trial, which begins next week, saying it was necessary for him to mount an effective defense.

They suggested hiring a security guard to escort Bankman-Fried from their offices every night, saying the guard would make sure he didn’t use “computers, cell phones, the Internet, television, or any electronic devices.”

The attorneys said Bankman-Fried would also agree to a “gag order” barring him from talking to anyone other than his lawyers, their staff, and his immediate family. Such a measure would have prevented additional instances of alleged witness tampering, after he shared documents about his former girlfriend and coworker Caroline Ellison to The New York Times.

Prosecutors challenged Bankman-Fried’s request, noting that the “inconveniences” cited in his motion were “common to all incarcerated defendants.” They also argued that he had failed to be specific about how his ability to prepare for trial was impeded.

Prosecutors quoted William Nardini, a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit—which previously rejected Bankman-Fried’s petition for release—who said the crypto whiz kid should have thought about the effects of incarceration before he allegedly tried to intimidate or influence witnesses.

“But like anyone else,” Nardini said, “if it is true that he has intimidated witnesses, at a certain point, he makes his own bed and sleeps in it.”

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