Just days before his trial, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys made one more attempt to have him released from custody, but the judge presiding over the case moved a step closer to addressing some unresolved difficulties.
Judge Lewis Kaplan will, sort of, permit Sam Bankman-Fried’s defense team to inquire about the usage of recreational drugs by specific Department of Justice witnesses.
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Ahead of trial, the judge, who has been in charge of the case for almost a year, came closer to settling unresolved difficulties. Daubert motions involving expert witnesses were the topic last week. It was answering questions about testimony and evidence and dealing with most motions in limine yesterday.
Cooperating witnesses (ex-FTX insiders) may be subject to cross-examination by the defense team over matters such as their use of recreational drugs and access to privileged corporate information; however, the attorneys must first alert the court.
Despite the defense’s concerns, the prosecution may also introduce evidence related to FTX’s bankruptcy during the trial. Information on the FTT token and whether it was tampered with by more FTX insiders will also be revealed.
Separately, as was announced on Tuesday, Bankman-Fried will be attempting to elude arrest once more, starting on October 2 and continuing until the conclusion of his trial. Judge Kaplan’s ruling that the FTX founder had probably sought to tamper with witnesses resulted in his imprisonment in August. His effort to have that judgment reversed was turned down earlier this month, and an appeals court last week declined to change the verdict. In spite of this, the disgraced cryptocurrency CEO’s attorneys requested in a letter sent to a New York court on Monday that he be permitted to remain at a temporary apartment in the city with a security guard.
It was “extremely difficult” for Bankman-Fried to prepare for the trial while in jail, therefore they requested that the judge permit him to travel to his attorneys’ offices during the actual trial. The letter stated that the security guard, who according to the lawyers will stay with Bankman-Fried at the home, will also ensure that he is not visited by any visitors or given access to any computers, cell phones, the internet, televisions, or other electronic devices.
Even with the promise of a strict gag order that will prevent Bankman-Fried from speaking to anyone other than his attorneys or family and his expressed willingness to accept any other conditions the court wants to impose, it is unclear whether the judge will approve this desperate attempt to keep Bankman-Fried out of jail. He gave the DOJ until today at 5:00 p.m. EDT to comment on the application.
On October 3 (Tuesday) at 9:30 a.m. EDT, voir dire (jury selection) will begin the trial. The DOJ estimates that this will take more than a full day. White-collar lawyers predict it will take more time. In any case, opening arguments will probably start the day after the jury is selected. The court docket suggests that such witnesses may be FTX insiders like Gary Wang, Caroline Ellison, and Nishad Singh. The DOJ also plans to call other witnesses to testify as early as next week.
Additionally, defense counsel has asked for permission for Bankman-Fried to dress professionally during the trial. He was handcuffed and dressed in a prison uniform for his previous court appearance before Judge Kaplan.
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