Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty again to fraud and money laundering charges tied to the collapse of his crypto empire, FTX, last year during a court appearance on Tuesday. The FTX founder was arraigned in the Southern District of New York courthouse after a new indictment accused him of using customer funds for everything from buying personal real estate to political donations. The charges are from the original indictment filed last December, and fold a campaign finance charge into other allegations after prosecutors said they couldn’t explicitly bring the charge due to treaty obligations with the Bahamas.
Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn oversaw the hearing, reading out each charge in turn and asking Bankman-Fried if he wanted her to read through the whole indictment (“No,” he said) before asking how he pled. Bankman-Fried entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. He was then ordered to remain in custody pending trial.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, Christian Everdell and David Mandel, argued that their client’s Sixth Amendment rights were being violated by his detention. They said that Bankman-Fried has had no access to discovery since his detention and that he needs to be able to use internet-enabled laptops to review the “millions of” documents produced during discovery. Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Kudla argued that the issue had already been briefed before Judge Lewis Kaplan, who had rejected the request. Netburn said she would rule on the matter later.
Bankman-Fried’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 2. In addition to the fraud and money laundering charges, Bankman-Fried is also facing charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit campaign finance violations. He faces up to 20 years in prison on each count if convicted. Bankman-Fried has denied all charges against him.
The collapse of FTX was a major blow to the cryptocurrency industry. The exchange was once one of the largest in the world, but it filed for bankruptcy in December 2022 after suffering heavy losses. Bankman-Fried’s arrest and subsequent indictment have cast a shadow over the cryptocurrency industry. The charges against him have raised concerns about the potential for fraud and abuse in the digital asset market.
The case against Bankman-Fried is still in its early stages, and it remains to be seen whether he will be convicted. However, the charges against him are serious, and he could face a long prison sentence if found guilty.