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Sam Bankman-Fried Appeal: FTX Founder’s Lawyers Vow to Fight Guilty Verdict

Last Updated November 3, 2023 3:24 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated November 3, 2023 3:24 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty of orchestrating a multibillion-dollar scam against FTX users.
  • A motion for acquittal during the trial was denied.
  • Judge Kaplan’s decision will consider various factors, including the nature of the offense.
  • SBF will likely seek a review of his conviction and the decisions made throughout the trial.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the creator of FTX, was found guilty of masterminding a multibillion-dollar scam against cryptocurrency exchange users.

During the trial, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers made a motion for acquittal, claiming the prosecution had not shown enough evidence. The Judge turned down the request. After Bankman-Fried was found guilty, his attorney, Mark Cohen, declared that his client would continue to “vigorously fight the charges.”

SBF to Appeal Conviction and Trial Decisions

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan set the sentencing date  for Bankman-Fried for March 28, 2024. Kaplan will decide on the sentence based on several variables, including Bankman-personal Fried’s past and the specifics of the offense.

Rejecting Bankman-Fried’s request to be released from custody so he could get ready for trial, Kaplan hinted that he might get a “very long sentence.”

The prosecution’s case against Fried Bankman is still ongoing. On allegations of paying a $40 million bribe to Chinese officials and arranging to make more than 300 unlawful political contributions  in the United States, Bankman-Fried is set to go on trial in March.

Bankman-Fried is probably going to request a review of his conviction and the decisions made against him both before to and during the trial by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Defense To Focus On “Conviction Based on Trial Errors”

Legal expert David Lesperance says Bankman-Fried will probably appeal but, he explains, “you can only appeal that which you presented in the trial. So you’re looking at mistake of law or a mistake of fact.”

“What they can’t appeal is saying, if there’s no mistake of law or no mistake of fact, that the jury was wrong in their determination. All they can say is the instruction was wrong, or the facts that were articulated by the judge in giving those instructions were incorrect,” Lesperance said.

“Will they come up with an argument? Sure, but as I said before, it’s only a good argument if a judge, a jury or in this case an appeal court, accept it. So, you know, will they appeal it? Why not? Nothing to lose. You’ve already lost. You know nothing to lose except fees, and you know they seem to have enough money for fees and things.”

Lesperance explained that the judge will probably look through all seven charges. If each brings (and it doesn’t) 20 years, the judge will follow the guidelines which are not absolutes. He will, says Lesperance, probably look at the fact that Bankman-Fried is a first time offender, but also at the fact that there was a huge money loss.

“It’s all going to be what Kaplan decides. And remember, the prosecution is going to say: Judge we we were recommending this, but it’s ultimately up to Kaplan.,” Lesperance concluded.

Does This Mark The Case Conclusion?

In a 2007 article  addressing corporate crime, Kaplan expressed the view that actions carried out by white-collar offenders through a careful assessment of the probable gains and losses associated with their criminal conduct might be particularly deplorable.

He basically explained that unearthing a significant transgression can lead to substantial fines for a company, with even more significant costs incurred in terms of reduced sales, stock value, and employee morale. Nevertheless, it’s not the inefficiency of regulations and compliance to blame for these wrongdoings. Instead, the root causes lie in inadequate leadership and flawed corporate cultures.

He then wrote :

“If executives want to fix the problem, they need to take ownership of it—starting by broadcasting the message that crime hurts everyone. What else should they do? Punish violators consistently, recruit managers with integrity, limit opportunities for unethical decision making, and champion transparency throughout their industries.”

FTX has successfully reclaimed assets exceeding $7 billion and continues its efforts to recover additional funds through legal actions against former associates.

Additionally, Judge Kaplan may potentially instruct Bankman-Fried to provide restitution to the victims during the sentencing phase.

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