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FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s Bail Request Rejected Ahead of Trial

A US court has turned down Sam Bankman-Fried’s plea for bail before his forthcoming trial set for next month.

The decision to retain the embattled FTX founder in custody until the trial was reaffirmed by an appeals court on Thursday.

The court declared, “We dismiss [Bankman-Fried’s] argument that the district court overlooked considering a less severe alternative to detention.”

“It’s evident from the records that the district court weighed all pertinent elements, including the Defendant-Appellant’s behaviors which led the court to progressively enhance the terms of release.”

Earlier in August, Bankman-Fried’s legal team had sought an interim release to enable him to collaborate with his attorneys for his defense at the federal courthouse located in Manhattan.

The defense team highlighted issues like inconsistent internet connectivity and the short battery life of available devices as major barriers to their defense preparation efforts, underscoring the urgency of releasing their client from detention.

Yet, Judge Lewis Kaplan from the Southern District of New York remained unpersuaded and opted not to authorize the release during a formal court session.

Persisting in their efforts, the defense re-submitted a plea for pre-trial release on September 5, enumerating various challenges posed by the conditions inside the detention center.

Counteracting these claims, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) contended that the FTX founder, despite his tarnished reputation, had adequate access to a laptop to assist with his defense. Prosecutors highlighted that the facility’s internet speed, oscillating between 7.5 Mbps and 34 Mbps throughout the day, was adequately efficient for the majority of online research and review tasks.

Bankman-Fried’s Trial Set to Start on October

Sam Bankman-Fried is slated to stand trial beginning October 3rd in a federal court located in Manhattan.

The charges laid against him pertain to alleged fraud and conspiracy, arising from the operations and eventual downfall of his cryptocurrency exchange. In response to all seven counts, Bankman-Fried has entered a plea of not guilty.

In preparation for the trial, both parties – Bankman-Fried and the DOJ – have proposed voir dire questions earlier in the month. These inquiries aim to gauge any potential biases of the prospective jurors, especially concerning their knowledge of the crypto domain or the philosophy of effective altruism.

One of the proposed questions seeks to probe the jurors’ sentiments, asking, “In instances where a company within the cryptocurrency or financial sector collapses, do you inherently believe the blame lies solely with the company’s proprietors?”

The proposed juror questionnaire delves into a variety of areas, including questions about jurors’ familiarity with FTX and Bankman-Fried, their experiences in cryptocurrency trading, their views on “using accumulated wealth to benefit society and aid others,” and even their personal or familial experiences related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Yet, the DOJ has voiced reservations concerning the nature of these proposed questions. They insinuate that some of the inquiries might be excessively probing and could be geared towards fortifying Bankman-Fried’s defense strategy.

The prosecutors particularly expressed discomfort with questions that probed jurors’ views and perspectives about FTX.

Furthermore, they argued that questions centering around the principle of effective altruism, which Bankman-Fried champions as his guiding ethos, were not just superfluous but might be a calculated move. They insinuate that this could be a tactic to weave a defense narrative portraying Bankman-Fried as an individual amassing wealth primarily to contribute positively to global society.

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