On March 30th, FTX founder SBF pleaded not guilty to all federal charges brought against him, including bribery charges announced last week.
SBF’s attorney, Mark Cohen, told reporters that he intends to file a motion to reduce some of the charges and for the court not to proceed with a trial for all of the charges against SBF on the grounds that he cannot be tried for charges brought after extradition. It is currently unclear whether the court will approve the motion.
SBF’s trial is set to begin in October. He also faces a civil charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. At the hearing on March 30th, SBF’s attorney argued that SBF was unable to obtain defense or representation during the extradition process, thus violating the right to a fair trial.
Cohen also noted that the FBI had seized records from one of SBF’s companies, making it difficult for the defendant to obtain certain evidence for his defense. In response to these arguments, federal prosecutors accused SBF of making false and misleading statements during his extradition hearing and challenged SBF’s capacity to make informed decisions about his defense.
The thirteen federal charges against SBF include fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice, all of which carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss related to the offense.
SBF is currently out on $10 million bond and was ordered not to leave the U.S. without court approval.
SBF’s case is set to go to trial this October and the jury is expected to make its determination based on the evidence presented at the trial. For now, SBF has maintained his not guilty plea to all charges.
Many of SBF’s supporters have expressed their outrage at the U.S. government’s pursuit of SBF and have also raised questions about the charges against him. In particular, supporters have argued that:
- SBF’s legal issues should be handled through civil proceedings, not criminal proceedings
- The U.S. government is overreaching in its pursuit of SBF
- The U.S. government is unfairly targeting SBF while largely ignoring alleged misdeeds of U.S. citizens and corporations
Supporters have also pointed out that, while SBF was the CEO of FTX, the company cooperated with U.S. authorities in its investigation. Critics have argued that the U.S. government is using its influence to target SBF rather than resolve the underlying issues.