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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Sam Bankman-Fried will enter a plea next week in FTX case, court filings show

Sam Bankman-Fried will enter a plea next week in FTX case, court filings show

The January 3 hearing will be Sam Bankman-Fried's opportunity to either plead guilty or to tell the court he will fight the eight charges at trial.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to enter a plea at a court hearing next week, court filings show.

The arraignment hearing, scheduled for January 3, will be Bankman-Fried's opportunity to either plead guilty in the face of eight fraud and conspiracy counts against him, or to tell the court he will fight the charges at trial.

After Bankman-Fried was extradited from the Bahamas to the US last week, prosecutors announced that his two top lieutenants, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, pleaded guilty to fraud charges stemming from the FTX scandal and were cooperating with their investigation. Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried orchestrated a years-long fraud by hiding the flow of money between FTX, his currency exchange, and Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency hedge fund he controlled.

At a hearing in a federal courtroom in Manhattan last Thursday, US Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein released Bankman-Fried on a $250 million bail and required him to stay confined to his parents' home in Palo Alto, California, with the exception of court appointments and exercise.

The January 3 hearing was previously on the court's calendar. A docket entry on Wednesday designated it as an arraignment hearing, meaning that Bankman-Fried is now scheduled to enter his plea. He will be expected to appear in New York in person.

Another docket entry on Wednesday indicated that two additional prosecutors were joining the case: Samuel Raymond and Andrew Rohrbach. Rohrbach was also one of the prosecutors who handled the case against Jeffrey Epstein's associate Ghislaine Maxwell, who was ultimately found guilty of sex-trafficking girls and sexually abusing them herself.

On Tuesday, the criminal cases of Bankman-Fried, Ellison, and Wang were assigned to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan. Judge Ronnie Abrams, who was previously assigned to the case, recused herself because her husband "advised FTX in 2021, as well as represented parties that may be adverse to FTX and Defendant Bankman-Fried in other proceedings."
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