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May, 27

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried subsisting on ‘bread and water’ in jail

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NEW YORK: Sam Bankman-Fried‘s requests for vegan meals and access to prescription medication in jail have gone unheeded, his lawyers said, adding that they need better access to their client to build his defense case.
The 31-year-old embattled crypto mogul has been “literally subsisting on bread and water” and a little peanut butter, his attorneys said, as they fought for more time with the FTX co-founder ahead of his October fraud trial. They made their arguments as Bankman-Fried appeared in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday to plead not guilty to a narrower indictment.
It was his first court appearance since a judge revoked his bail after concluding that he likely tried to tamper with two witnesses. Bankman-Fried’s charges were cut almost by half, to exclude those that weren’t included in an agreement by the Bahamas to extradite him to the US last year.
Preparing a defense
Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, said his client hadn’t been given any Adderall since he was jailed and has only a few doses left of another prescription drug, the antidepressant Emsam.
The lawyers complained that they were struggling to build his defense without access to him. In the 11 days he has been in federal lockup, Bankman-Fried hasn’t been permitted to review any of the millions of pages of evidence, his lawyer Christian Everdell said, calling it a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
Everdell said his team had been presented with a plan for Bankman-Fried to review the evidence with his lawyers two days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., using a laptop in a cell block in the courthouse, which he said was inadequate.
“It means he cannot help prepare his defense,” Everdell said.
Bankman-Fried has appealed the bail ruling but in the meantime is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York. Before his $250 million bail package was revoked, he was living at his parents’ California house.
Most serious charges
Bankman-Fried entered his plea to seven counts of fraud and money laundering, contained in a revised US indictment filed on Aug. 14. The counts on which he will be tried this year are the most serious he faces. Prosecutors say the alleged fraud scheme cost customers and investors billions of dollars.
Bankman-Fried had contested the validity of five of the 13 counts in an earlier indictment, arguing they weren’t part of the extradition pact that paved the way for his return to the US in December. The government severed those five charges from the trial and dropped a sixth.
The former FTX mogul, who ran his crypto empire from the island country, is accused of orchestrating a yearslong fraud at FTX and its trading affiliate Alameda Research, both of which collapsed in November. He is due to go on trial on October 2.
The case is US v Bankman-Fried, 22-cr-673, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).





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