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FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried In The Spotlight With Uncommon Court Appearance

Sam Bankman-Fried

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According to a Bloomberg report, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, will make a “rare” court appearance in New York on Wednesday after being convicted in November for a multi-billion dollar fraud involving cryptocurrency customers. 

A federal judge will question Sam Bankman-Fried about potential conflicts of interest regarding the lawyers hired to represent him at his upcoming sentencing on March 28.

Notably, these same attorneys are also representing Alex Mashinsky, the former CEO of crypto-lending platform Celsius Network Ltd, who is facing a separate criminal case related to the collapse of Celsius.

Conflicts Of Interest Arise In FTX Founder’s Legal Team

Per the report, prosecutors recently requested that US District Judge Lewis Kaplan inquire about possible conflicts for Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, Marc Mukasey and Torrey Young. 

The government aims to determine whether Sam Bankman-Fried is willing to waive his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel, given the lawyers’ simultaneous representation of Mashinsky. 

FTX’s FTT token’s 3% price drop in the past 24 hours. Source: FTTUSDT on TradingView.com

Prosecutors have highlighted Mashinsky’s allegations that actions taken by Alameda Research, a hedge fund linked to Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange, contributed to Celsius’s bankruptcy. 

Consequently, the government suggests that the lawyers’ access to certain records could be limited. Alameda Research emerged as one of Celsius’s major creditors when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2022.

Sam Bankman-Fried Potential Role In Celsius Bankruptcy

The US government has raised concerns about discussions Bankman-Fried had regarding the potential purchase of Celsius before its bankruptcy, along with replacing Mashinsky as CEO. However, the prosecutors stated that these issues could be waived, indicating they are not impossible conflicts.

While defendants generally have the right to choose their attorneys, judges are responsible for ensuring that they are fully aware of any potential conflicts of interest. The government often raises concerns about possible competing interests as they arise.

In response to the situation, Mashinsky expressed his willingness to waive any potential conflicts related to Mukasey and Young. He expects Sam Bankman-Fried’s sentencing to occur before his trial in January, where he faces charges of making false and misleading statements about his company’s financial health before its bankruptcy.

Sam Bankman-Fried
First photo of Sam Bankman-Fried from jail. Source: @TiffanyFong_ on X

As Bitcoinist reported earlier this week, a picture posted by crypto influencer Tiffany Fong showed Sam Bankman-Fried posing with inmates.

Bankman-Fried has been in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since August after his $250 million bail was revoked for allegedly leaking documents to discredit former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, who had pleaded guilty and testified against him. The sentencing date for Ellison has yet to be determined.

Featured image from Yahoo, chart from TradingView.com 

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Written by BTC Artist

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