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Sam Bankman-Fried’s Defense Team Says Prosecutors’ Proposed Sentence Is ‘Medieval’

Sam Bankman-Fried

Sam Bankman-Fried’s defense team said Tuesday (March 19) that the prosecution’s proposed 40- to 50-year prison sentence is based on a “distorted” narrative and a “medieval” view of punishment.

The defense team, led by lawyer Marc Mukasey, said in a Tuesday court filing that they sought a significantly shorter sentence for the founder of the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, asserting that Bankman-Fried is not a “super-villain,” Reuters reported Wednesday (March 20).

Bankman-Fried, once a billionaire, was convicted in November on charges of stealing $8 billion from FTX customers. The sentencing hearing for Bankman-Fried is set for March 28 in Manhattan federal court, according to the report.

In the past, Mukasey has highlighted Bankman-Fried’s efforts to recover funds following the collapse of FTX in November 2022, the report said. The defense maintains that FTX customers are likely to be compensated through the bankruptcy process.

Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to seven counts of fraud and conspiracy and plans to appeal his conviction and sentence, according to the report.

Prosecutors argue that Bankman-Fried’s actions were driven by greed and that he has refused to acknowledge the wrongfulness of his behavior, the report said.

In addition, several FTX customers have voiced dissatisfaction with the proposed compensation, arguing that their cryptocurrency assets would be worth significantly more today than they were at the time FTX declared bankruptcy, per the report.

It was reported Friday (March 15) that prosecutors argued that Bankman-Fried demonstrated “unmatched greed and hubris,” using customer funds for risky investments and personal gain.

Prosecutors also argued that his privileged upbringing and elite education should be considered when determining his sentence. Bankman-Fried is also accused of using customer funds to buy luxury real estate in the Bahamas and make political donations to candidates who might support cryptocurrency-friendly regulations.

They are seeking a 40- to 50-year prison sentence for Bankman-Fried, while Mukasey argued at the time for a more lenient prison term of 5 ¼ to 6 ½ years.

At the March 28 sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan will determine the punishment for the convicted founder of FTX, according to the Wednesday report by Reuters.