Sam Bankman-Fried Set For October Trial

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  • Sam Bankman-Fried will face trial in October over his part in FTX’s downfall
  • Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty yesterday and had his court date set for October 2
  • It is suspected that a plea deal is in the works to avoid this fate

Sam Bankman-Fried will go on trial in October after he pleaded not guilty to a litany of crimes associated with the downfall of FTX. Bankman-Fried, who was expected to deny all charges, will remain on a $250 million bond until the trial date, which will be one of the most hotly anticipated legal events of the year when it rolls around later in the year. The former FTX CEO was labeled “public enemy No 1” by a senior New York defense lawyer, who suggested there could be a plea deal down the road.

Trial Will End One Year After FTX Collapse

Bankman-Fried was extradited last month after spending just a few nights in one of the world’s toughest prisons in the Bahamas, and yesterday was his first court appearance in the U.S. He entered a plea of not guilty in front of Judge Lewis Kaplan, who set a trial date for October 2, suggesting that Bankman-Fried will learn his fate almost exactly a year after all the troubles surrounding FTX began.

Two of Bankman-Fried’s fellow executives, Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, have both pleaded guilty to criminal charges over the fraud and conspiracy that went on at FTX, agreements which indicate that the pair have agreed to cooperate fully with the government. Their evidence will no doubt be crucial in the case against Bankman-Fried, and they will almost certainly testify against him.

Plea Deal May Be in the Works

It may not come to that, however. The seriousness of the charges, the evidence apparently collected by current FTX CEO John Ray III, and the potential testimony of Bankman-Fried’s former lieutenants, all suggests that a plea deal is in the offing, which we predicted when he was first arrested.

Jeffrey Lichtman, an experienced defense lawyer in New York, told the Guardian yesterday that Bankman-Fried may well be working on a plea deal already, despite having pleaded not guilty:

He has to plead not guilty in his first appearance in front of a district court judge. It’s clear that the government is not going to be using him to cooperate against them, so he’s clearly working on something else. Why else would the government consent to a bail package for public enemy No 1?

Unless Bankman-Fried changes his plea, there will be little that happens publicly in this case until we get closer to trial later in the year.