Sam Bankman-Fried, is facing a series of setbacks as he prepares for his upcoming fraud trial.
The FTX founder’s request to be released from jail ahead of the trial has been denied by a federal appeals court, and he has also lost a separate ruling that blocks him from calling expert witnesses for his defense, Bloomberg reported Thursday (Sept. 21). The trial, which is one of the largest fraud cases in American history, is scheduled to begin Oct. 3.
Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail was revoked in August after the judge ruled that he likely attempted to tamper with two government witnesses. Saying they needed his assistance to adequately prepare for his trial, his lawyers asked the federal appeals court to release him, but their request was denied, leaving Bankman-Fried in jail, according to the report.
One of the key issues in this decision revolves around Bankman-Fried’s alleged engagement in witness tampering, the report said. The appeals court found “probable cause” that he had engaged in witness tampering by sharing the private writings of his former girlfriend and CEO of FTX-affiliated Alameda Research, Caroline Ellison.
This decision came shortly after the trial judge ruled against Bankman-Fried’s request to call seven expert witnesses to testify on his behalf, per the report. The judge argued that their testimony would not be relevant to the case or could potentially confuse the jury.
However, the judge did leave room for Bankman-Fried’s legal team to call some witnesses, including two experts in data analytics and blockchain technology, to counter the government’s witnesses, according to the report.
Prosecutors had requested the exclusion of the expert witnesses, who were prepared to testify about the crypto industry, political donations, Alameda’s balance sheets and the use of customer funds, the report said. Additionally, former Federal Election Commission chairperson Bradley Smith was set to provide insight into U.S. campaign finance laws.
These decisions come three days after FTX filed a lawsuit against Bankman-Fried’s parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, saying that they used their backgrounds as Stanford University law professors to help line their pockets as their son carried out his own alleged fraud during his time as head of the company.