The lawyers representing Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, said that his criminal trial might need to be delayed to give him more time to prepare his defense.
So far, the criminal trial on the FTX case is scheduled for Oct. 2. It focuses on fraud charges brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
However, in a letter to US district judge Lewis Kaplan on March 8, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said they were still waiting for a substantial portion of evidence to be handed over, as additional charges had been filed against the FTX founder in late February.
Lawyers for Bankman-Fried stated that DOJ prosecutors have evidence from devices owned by Zixiao “Gary” Wang, an FTX co-founder, and Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of FTX’s sister firm Alameda Research. Wang and Ellison have both pled guilty to fraud charges and are cooperating with the DOJ.
The lawyers also noted that they were awaiting evidence from “computers belonging to two other former FTX/Alameda employees” and anticipate that the production of evidence from these devices “will be voluminous and critically important to the defense.”
The superseded indictment against Bankman-Fried, unsealed on Feb. 22, included four new charges related to conspiracy and fraud and the eight charges initially filed against him in December 2022. Bankman-Fried had pleaded not guilty to those charges.
“Depending on the volume of the additional discovery and the timing of the productions, it may be necessary to request an adjournment of the trial, currently scheduled to begin on Oct. 2, 2023.”
Christian Everdell, one of Bankman-Fried’s lawyers
Bankman-Fried, released on a $250 million bond, is still under house arrest at his parents’ home in California. The terms of his bail had previously been under review after it was discovered that he had used a VPN to access the internet.
FTX’s legal team billed $38 million in January
In related news, the lawyers and accountants working for FTX billed a staggering $38 million for their services in January alone. According to court documents, the invoices are for a team of hundreds of lawyers, consultants, paralegals, and accountants. FTX administrators had retained law firm Sullivan & Cromwell as counsel following a billing of 14,569 hours of work for $16.8 million in January.
Finally, FTX has sued crypto fund manager Grayscale this week to unlock as much as $9 billion from its bitcoin and ethereum trusts. The outcome of this lawsuit remains to be seen.