US Court Revokes SBF’s Bail Over Evidence Tampering

FTX's CEO SBF

US Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked the bail term of bankrupt FTX’s embattled former boss, Sam Bankman-Fried, over issues of witness tampering. The hearing in Manhattan on Friday saw SBF immediately taken back into custody just two months before his trial.

Federal prosecutors had their way during the hearing, as Kaplan consented that SBF tried to tamper with witnesses twice, violating his $250 million bail terms.

“There is no condition or combination of conditions of release that will assure that the defendant will not pose a danger to other persons or the safety of the community,” Kaplan stated while passing the judgment.

Witness Tampering

In a court filing last month, federal prosecutors alleged that SBF was inciting and tampering with witnesses while on bail and demanded his apprehension. The plaintiff cited the leaked private conversation with Caroline Ellison as an interference with a fair trial by making an impartial jury.

During the hearing, prosecutors also drew the attention of Judge Kaplan to a message from Bankman-Fried to a former colleague and potential witness, where he asked to “see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other.”

Kaplan stated that the evidence provided by the plaintiff was enough to convince him that SBF intended to tamper with witnesses while on bail and ruled that he be kept under custody. Upon the pronouncement, the FTX founder removed his tie and jacket; the marshals handcuffed him and took him away from the courtroom.

SBF’s Lawyer Will Appeal Ruling

Immediately after the ruling, the lawyer representing Bankman-Fried stated he would appeal the detention ruling by Kaplan. The judge, however, noted that an overturn of his decree was not feasible and ordered that the marshals take the former FTX boss away.

SBF’s lawyer attempted to defend his client, stating that the interview with the New York Times was an exercise of his first amendment rights. 

Bankman-Fried will now stay out the rest of his waiting period in custody and could continue behind bars if found guilty. The disgraced FTX founder pleaded not guilty to fraud charges in January and awaits a final pronouncement on his alleged misappropriation of FTX users’ funds in October.

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