Lawyers representing Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, have suggested that they may need to delay his criminal trial due to a lack of evidence from the DOJ. In a letter to United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers stated that they are still waiting for a “substantial portion” of evidence to be turned over to them and that more charges had been laid against the FTX founder in late February.
The criminal trial, which is scheduled to begin on October 2, will focus on fraud charges brought by the DOJ. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have not formally requested a date change, but they have stated that it may be necessary. According to the letter, prosecutors from the DOJ are holding evidence from devices belonging to Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of FTX’s sister trading firm Alameda Research, and Zixiao “Gary” Wang, an FTX co-founder. Both Ellison and Wang have pleaded guilty to fraud charges and are cooperating with the DOJ.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have stated that they are also waiting for contents from “computers belonging to two other former FTX/Alameda employees.” They anticipate that the evidence from these devices “will be voluminous and critically important to the defense.”
The letter also noted that Bankman-Fried was hit with new charges relating to conspiracy and fraud when a superseded indictment was unsealed on February 22. The number of charges against him was bumped up from eight to twelve. Bankman-Fried had previously pleaded not guilty to the original eight charges that were brought against him in December.
The delay in evidence being handed over to Bankman-Fried’s lawyers could have significant implications for the trial. If the defense does not receive the evidence it needs to prepare its case, it may be forced to request a delay. This would mean that the trial would not begin as scheduled on October 2.
The criminal trial against Bankman-Fried has attracted significant attention in the crypto industry. FTX is one of the fastest-growing crypto exchanges in the world, and Bankman-Fried is seen as a leading figure in the industry. The outcome of the trial could have implications for the regulation of the crypto industry, as well as for the future of FTX.