Judge revokes Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail, accuses disgraced FTX founder of witness tampering

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was carted off in cuffs Friday after having his bail revoked over concerns about potential “mischief.”

(Video: CNN)

With a trial set for October, the disgraced crypto bro was spotted walking what may have been his last steps as a free man when he was taken into custody at a New York federal court. Instead of allowing the suspected fraudster to return to his parents’ California home, allegations of potential witness tampering led U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to remand him into custody at a federal detention center.

“And the judge finding today that there was probable cause to believe that Bankman-Fried attempted to tamper with witnesses at least twice,” CNN’s Kara Scannell reported, “and that’s the basis, why the judge revoked his bail and has remanded him into custody.”

The motion requesting detention included claims from the prosecution that Bankman-Fried had participated in over 1,000 calls with members of the media and sent them over 100 emails, along with allegedly leaking diary entries of his ex-girlfriend and FTX co-founder, Caroline Ellison.

“He is expected to go to trial on Oct. 2, so we’re about seven weeks out from this trial, but the judge revoking bail and prosecutors had asked for this because one of the issues, the tipping point, seemed to be that Bankman-Fried spoke to The New York Times about a person in this case,” explained Scannell. “This was Caroline Ellison.”

“She was a top executive at FTX and its sister hedge fund. And he had talked to the Times about her; prosecutors saying that was an attempt to tamper with witnesses, potentially intimidate her from testifying at trial. She has pleaded guilty to numerous serious crimes and is going to be one of the government’s star witnesses,” she further detailed.

As previously reported, faced with as much as 110 years incarceration, Ellison had pled guilty in December to multiple charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering as part of a deal to testify against her ex in an attempt at a more lenient sentence.

Kaplan had asserted of the probable cause to witness tampering that Bankman-Fried’s involvement in the Ellison story had been meant to “discredit” her as a witness and went on to deny a request to remain with his parents in Palo Alto on $250 million bond because “he didn’t know what kind of mischief” the FTX founder “could get into during that time.”

Despite the concerns over his contact with the media, the government had requested Bankman-Fried be held at a facility in Putnam, New York where, unlike limited access at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, he would have access to a laptop with internet service as part of the preparation for his defense.


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