In a blow to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried hopes for freedom pending appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld his incarceration following a Nov. 21 mandate. The court cited Bankman-Fried’s previous alleged attempts to tamper with witnesses while on pretrial release as a primary reason for denying his request.
Bankman-Fried faced the accusations from government prosecutors that he leaked Caroline Ellison’s diaries to The New York Times in July, leading to the revocation of his bail by a New York District Court. The FTX founder, however, contended that his actions were protected under the First Amendment as freedom of speech. The appellate court rejected this argument, asserting that witness tampering “falls outside the zone of constitutional protection.”
Despite Bankman-Fried legal team’s claim that the District Court failed to consider less restrictive alternatives to detention, the appellate court sided with the lower court, stating, “We have reviewed the Defendant-Appellant’s additional arguments and find them unpersuasive.” The court maintained that the District Court had thoroughly considered all relevant factors, including Bankman-Fried’s conduct while on pretrial release.
Bankman-Fried, who was found guilty of seven fraud and money laundering-related charges on Nov. 2, will remain incarcerated as he awaits sentencing scheduled for March 28 next year. The decision underscores the gravity of the allegations against the former FTX CEO and the legal hurdles he faces in securing his release pending the outcome of the appeals process.
The case is not only the highlights which intricacies of the legal battle surrounding Bankman-Fried but also raises questions about the boundaries of constitutional protection, particularly concerning freedom of speech in the context of witness tampering. As the crypto community watches closely, the outcome of this case could have lasting implications for the intersection of the law and the burgeoning of cryptocurrency industry.