A United States federal judge is reportedly weighing a proposal to split former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) criminal charges into two trials following a filing from prosecutors.
According to a June 15 report from the Wall Street Journal, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York was considering whether to dismiss or separate charges in Bankman-Fried’s criminal case after an “imaginative” argument from the former FTX CEO’s legal team. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers filed a motion that he should not face charges that had not been included in the extradition papers from the Bahamas to the United States in 2022.
The original indictment for SBF included 8 criminal charges, but a superseding indictment in February and a subsequent charge added in March increased the total to 13. Should the judge sever the trials, Bankman-Fried could face one trial focused on the additional charges of allegedly bribing a Chinese government official and other matters related to fraud at FTX and Alameda Research.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Department of Justice said they were prepared to try SBF on the original indictment starting in October, with the process of the remaining 5 charges to be decided by Judge Kaplan. The Wall Street Journal reported that the judge suggested he was unlikely to outright dismiss any criminal charges prior to trial.
Following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX in November 2022 and allegations of misuse of customer funds, Bankman-Fried was extradited from the Bahamas to the U.S. as part of a case initiated by the Justice Department. SBF has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, and has largely been restricted to his parents’ California home as part of his bail conditions.
Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang pleaded guilty to charges related to the alleged financial entanglements between FTX and Alameda. FTX’s bankruptcy case has also been proceeding in a Delaware court.