In a dramatic courtroom exchange, Judge Lewis Kaplan and the defense team representing former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) discussed trial preparation challenges and looming deadlines today.
The proceedings shed light on the defense’s alleged difficulties in handling the case from within Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) walls. At the same time, the judge offered a limited window for potential trial date adjustments.
Judge Kaplan And Defense Clash In FTX Founder’s Case
As reported on X (formerly Twitter) by Inner City Press, the dialogue unfolded with Judge Kaplan setting a September 7 deadline for requesting a jury based on the trial start date of October 3.
The defense team, however, refrained from seeking a different trial date for preparation purposes, prompting the judge to remind them of the opportunity available within the limited timeframe.
Amidst concerns raised by SBF’s lawyer about late discovery and the government’s charging decisions, Judge Kaplan clarified that the grand jury was responsible for the timing. The defense argued for the right to access necessary documents, emphasizing the challenge of SBF’s confinement.
However, the judge noted that the defense had not formally requested more time, highlighting the need for a substantive demonstration of necessity.
The interaction continued with discussions regarding FTX’s code base and expert witnesses, with the defense highlighting the bespoke nature of the code base and the need for their client’s access to it.
The defense and prosecutors also exchanged remarks about the availability and transfer of Slack messages and Google documents.
Judge Kaplan addressed the defense’s concerns about an alleged deluge of documents, asserting that the defense’s claims were “exaggerated”.
He emphasized that if the defense desired a postponement, they should request it promptly, emphasizing the need to demonstrate a clear necessity beyond the volume of documents.
Judge Sets Second Trial Date
The judge also mentioned a second trial date scheduled for March 11, intended to account for the possibility of consent being granted by the Bahamas. However, he clarified that an extension was not guaranteed, reserving his decision later.
The hearing concluded with discussions about MDC issues, including the unavailability of hard drives and problems with battery life. Judge Kaplan postponed ruling on the matter and requested a joint report on the MDC situation by Tuesday.
He further urged the FTX founder defense team to submit a joint proposal by the end of the week concerning any potential requests for more time.
As the courtroom drama unfolded, tensions ran high between Judge Kaplan and the defense team, setting the stage for a crucial legal battle in the FTX founder’s case. With deadlines looming and challenges mounting, the fate of the trial and SBF’s legal strategy hang in the balance.
Featured image from iStock, chart from TradingView.com