Judge Rejects Bankman-Fried’s Attempt to Dismiss Criminal Charges

Judge Rejects Bankman-Fried’s Attempt to Dismiss Criminal Charges – U.S. district judge Lewis Kaplan has denied the request made by Sam Bankman-Fried to dismiss criminal charges against him on Tuesday. Bankman-Fried, the co-founder of FTX who has faced controversy, argued that the charges brought against him violated the “rule of specialty” as outlined in the extradition treaty between the Bahamas and the United States. 

However, Judge Kaplan rejected this argument, and Bankman-Fried’s attempt to have counts 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, and 13 dismissed after extradition was unsuccessful. SBF argued that the extradition from the Bahamas to the United States violated the rule of specialty because he was facing charges beyond what was specified in the original extradition request.

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According to SBF’s legal team, the United States went beyond the agreed-upon scope by introducing charges that were not part of the extradition arrangement. However, Judge Kaplan concluded that the charges against Bankman-Fried fell within the acceptable limits outlined in the extradition treaty.

Consequently, the judge dismissed Bankman-Fried’s attempt to have the criminal charges dropped, indicating that he would have to stand trial for the offenses specified in the extradition proceedings. Kaplan said the charges are “joined properly with the other pre-extradition charges in this case because a common scheme unifies them.” 

The common scheme was to “accelerate the growth of FTX and Alameda and to enrich the defendant thereby,” the court filing details. Interestingly, SBF attempted to get counts 1 and 2 dismissed which include the charges of “conspiring to commit and committing wire fraud on FTX customers.” SBF contends that these charges should be dropped since the indictment fails to mention any “financial harm” inflicted upon FTX customers. 

Kaplan disagrees and states: “The defendant is wrong both factually and as a matter of law.” A great deal of SBF’s arguments leverage the language written in the indictments and jurisdiction gray areas to justify the dismissal of the charges against him. Yet the judge details on numerous occasions that the defendant’s arguments are “unpersuasive” and the counts against SBF “are legally sufficient.”

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Kaplan opined that the dismissal arguments are “either moot or without merit” and for those reasons, the motion to dismiss is denied. “Accordingly, the motion to dismiss for improper venue is denied without prejudice to renewal under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29,” the judge concluded.

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