According to a report from Reuters, Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO and co-founder of the now-bankrupt FTX exchange, has pleaded not guilty to a recent charge accusing him of fraud and conspiracy. This action was taken in the first court appearance of Bankman-Fried since a US court revoked his bail in early August.
In a hearing presided over by Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in the Southern District of New York courthouse, SBF made a “not guilty” plea to the seven criminal charges. His mother, Stanford Law School professor Barbara Fried, was reportedly in attendance.
The former CEO is currently being held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, which his lawyers complained about. Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, said during the recent hearing that his client had been denied access to the drug Adderall, used in the treatment of his attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
Cohen also claimed that the jail officials have refused to give a vegan diet to the defendant – as requested. “Because he’s following his principles, he is now subsisting on bread and water,” the attorney said.
Sam Bankman-Fried Allowed To Meet Lawyers?
Bankman-Fried has been in jail since August 11, 2023, after US district judge Lewis Kaplan rescinded his bail for allegedly tampering with witnesses. On August 18, lawyers of the former FTX boss requested that their client be released for five days – during the week – to be able to work on his defense.
On Tuesday, August 22, Bitcoinist reported that Judge Kaplan had approved Sam Bankman-Fried to meet his counsel, albeit with strict limitations. According to the report, SBF can meet his lawyers in the “Marshal’s cell block attorney room, from approximately 8:30 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m.”
Furthermore, SBF and his counsel will have access to the internet for the duration of the meeting as Judge Kaplan agreed for his lawyer to bring “one” internet-enabled laptop and one Wifi device to the courthouse.
Prosecutors have accused Bankman-Fried of diverting billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to save Alameda and buy expensive properties while donating more than $100 million to political campaigns. While the former FTX boss has admitted to risk management shortcomings, he has refuted claims of stealing customer funds.
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Author: Opeyemi Sule