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Sam Bankman-Fried Jailed Ahead of Trial

Bankman-Fried was accused of leaking former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison’s diary to the New York Times.

NEW YORK — FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been remanded into custody ahead of his October trial on multiple financial crime charges after a federal judge revoked his release on bond.

“My conclusion is there is probable cause to believe the defendant has attempted to tamper with witnesses on at least twice … there is a rebuttable presumption that there is no set of conditions that will ensure Bankman-Fried will not be a danger,” said Judge Lewis Kaplan, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Bankman-Fried, the 31-year-old former CEO of the FTX empire, appeared in court on Friday after the U.S. Department of Justice moved to send him back to jail on allegations of violating the terms of his bond by trying to tamper with multiple witnesses. According to the DOJ, Bankman-Fried’s reaching out to former FTX.US general counsel Ryne Miller and using a virtual private network to, in the words of his defense team, watch the Super Bowl, were enough to require a modification of his bail conditions. The last straw, however, was Bankman-Fried’s sharing part of former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison’s private diary with the New York Times.

Judge Kaplan cited both the contact with Miller as well as the sharing of Allison’s diary in a lengthy verbal order.

Bankman-Fried is willing “to risk crossing the line in an effort to get right up to [the line] wherever it is,” he said, later concluding: “All things considered I’m going to revoke bail.”

Bankman-Fried’s defense team admitted he shared some diary pages with the Times, though his attorneys disputed that he was trying to tamper with a witness in doing so. The defense team also argued that jailing Bankman-Fried would make it more difficult to prepare for his trial.

Judge Lewis Kaplan, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, wasn’t convinced by these arguments: “I don’t think that the revocation is quite the insurmountable problem.”

Bankman-Fried is currently set to go on trial at the start of October on wire fraud, commodities fraud, securities fraud, money laundering and related conspiracy charges. He faces another trial, tentatively scheduled for next March, on additional charges brought by the DOJ after Bankman-Fried’s arrest and extradition.

Certain pretrial motions from both the prosecution and the defense are due to the court by Monday, Aug. 14.

Attorneys from both the defense and the prosecution said they were on track to meet next week’s deadlines.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said they would appeal the decision, and made a motion to stay the revocation of the bail until that appeal was heard. The judge rejected the stay.

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