A federal judge is allowing former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, or SBF, access to his legal team outside of jail, provided he gives sufficient notice.
In an Aug. 23 order filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Lewis Kaplan said SBF would be allowed access to discovery materials in his criminal case in a courthouse cell block with 48 hours’ notice to prosecutors and the U.S. Marshals Service. The order came prior to Kaplan reaching a decision on motions from the Justice Department and SBF’s legal team regarding how much time the former FTX CEO would be allowed outside of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn in order to assist in the preparation of his case.
Kaplan said the order was in line with the accommodations the U.S. government proposed for SBF on Aug. 18. However, the details of the government’s offer in the filing were largely redacted, other than claiming the U.S. Marshals Service “offered these extraordinary accommodations in light of the unique nature of this case.” SBF’s legal team requested he be allowed outside of jail five days a week to assist with his own defense.
SPECIAL SAM: Looks like Bankman-Fried will be allowed to meet daily with his lawyers and laptop in the SDNY courthouse. This just-filed order refers to paragraphs from DOJ's Aug 18 letter where are fully redacted. #SecretSam https://t.co/uUXBcLMej9 pic.twitter.com/nbm2BVlQqM— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) August 23, 2023
The judge ruled on Aug. 21 that SBF be allowed roughly seven hours in the New York courthouse cell block attorney room on Aug. 22. Based on an Aug. 23 filing from his legal team, the former FTX CEO and his lawyers may have discussed the defense strategy of relying on advice of previous counsel, causing him to act “in good faith” in regard to his alleged actions at FTX and Alameda Research.
SBF had been free on $250 million bail following his extradition from the Bahamas and arraignment in the U.S. in December 2022. On Aug. 11, following allegations of witness intimidation, Kaplan revoked his bail, causing him to be sent to jail, where he will likely remain through his two trials.
The former FTX CEO faces 12 criminal counts, which will be spread across two trials starting in October 2023 and March 2024. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to all charges.