According to court documents, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is set to be arraigned by the federal court in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on Jan. 3, 2023. The disgraced FTX co-founder plans to enter a plea in his fraud case in front of U.S. judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, according to a report published by Reuters.
Just recently, the judge that was presiding over Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) fraud case, judge Ronnie Abrams, withdrew from the case citing a conflict of interest. It seems Abrams husband, Greg Andres, was reportedly an FTX adviser last year. Andres is a partner at the white-shoe, international law firm headquartered in New York City, Davis Polk & Wardwell. Following Abrams’s withdrawal from SBF’s case, the judge has been replaced by judge Lewis Kaplan.
The 78-year-old Kaplan has been called a “no-nonsense” judge who has presided over a number of high-profile cases involving individuals like the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, and Prince Andrew, Duke of York. On Dec. 28, 2022, Reuters reported that when SBF faces judge Kaplan, the FTX co-founder is expected to submit a plea during his arraignment.
“Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to enter a plea next week to criminal charges,” Reuters contributor Jonathan Stempel wrote on Wednesday. Court documents show that SBF is scheduled to see judge Kaplan on Jan. 3, 2023, in Manhattan’s federal court.
The news follows the recent unsealed testimony from Caroline Ellison, the ex-CEO of Alameda Research. Ellison is currently working with federal law enforcement officials, and in her testimony she described a number of fraudulent acts she says she participated in since 2019.
Moreover, a number of people do not believe the court will go easy on SBF. On Dec. 22, criminal defense attorney, Brian Wice, discussed the situation with Yahoo Finance Live and he told the host, Rachelle Akuffo, that the U.S. attorney in SDNY, Damian Williams, has a case with “very few holes.”
Wice remarked that the feds wouldn’t go forward unless “they are convinced that they can make their case beyond a reasonable doubt.” As far as Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang are concerned, Wice said they didn’t have “ironclad plea deals,” but stressed the duo will “get substantial reductions in their sentences if they come in and they testify truthfully.”
As far as SBF is concerned, Wice remarked that he’s got a “tough road to hoe” ahead of him. “The more cooperators against him, the tougher it will be,” Wice told Akuffo. “And right now Damian Williams sent up the bat signal saying if you’ve got any guilty knowledge or involvement in this case, you better come in now or it’s only going to get worse,” the criminal defense attorney added.
In addition to the SDNY case against SBF, a class action lawsuit filed by FTX customers wants the remaining digital assets tied to Alameda and FTX “earmarked solely for customers.”
The plaintiffs from the class action lawsuit detail that FTX’s loans to Alameda Research, as described by ex-CEO Caroline Ellison, were “in direct violation of FTX’s own customer agreements and terms of service, as well as common law and basic principles of honesty and fair dealing.” SBF was released on a $250 million bond on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, and the former FTX CEO was not asked to enter a plea.
What do you think about SBF heading to court to face judge Kaplan on Jan. 3, 2023? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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