FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who is currently being held in a federal jail in Brooklyn, is facing significant challenges in preparing for his upcoming trial, according to his attorneys. During a court hearing on Tuesday, his lawyers expressed concerns over Bankman-Fried's limited diet and lack of access to necessary medications and technology. They argued that these issues are impeding his ability to effectively defend himself against the charges he is facing, including wire fraud and multiple conspiracy counts.
Bankman-Fried's defense attorney, Mark Cohen, stated that his client is not receiving his prescribed medication, Adderall, which is used to treat his attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This lack of medication is affecting Bankman-Fried's ability to concentrate and focus on his defense. Additionally, his attorneys raised concerns about the jail's failure to provide him with vegan meals, forcing him to subsist on a diet of bread, water, and occasionally peanut butter. Bankman-Fried is a vegan and has requested meals that align with his dietary preferences.
Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn assured Bankman-Fried's attorneys that she would address these concerns regarding medication and diet with the Metropolitan Detention Center. She acknowledged that while a vegan diet may not be feasible, vegetarian options should be available to accommodate his dietary needs.
In addition to these issues, Bankman-Fried's attorneys highlighted the lack of access to computers and the internet as well as the limited access to discovery materials. Christian Everdell, another defense attorney, emphasized that Bankman-Fried needs proper access to computers and the internet in order to review evidence and prepare for trial. He argued that the current restrictions are hindering his ability to participate fully in his defense.
Bankman-Fried, once hailed as a crypto genius, has been facing legal troubles since his extradition from the Bahamas in December 2022. Prosecutors allege that he stole billions of dollars in customer deposits from FTX and used the funds for personal expenses, investments, and illegal campaign contributions. Earlier this month, his bail was revoked after prosecutors accused him of attempting to influence witnesses in his case.
Bankman-Fried's trial is scheduled to begin on October 3. However, his attorneys argue that without proper access to necessary resources, he will not be able to adequately prepare for his defense. They have raised concerns about the limited time remaining before the trial and the complexity of the case. Magistrate Judge Netburn acknowledged these concerns and expressed her willingness to address the issues raised by Bankman-Fried's defense team.
Overall, Bankman-Fried's current circumstances in jail, including his limited diet, lack of medication, and restricted access to technology and materials, are presenting significant challenges as he prepares for his upcoming trial. His attorneys are advocating for improved conditions and access to resources to ensure a fair and effective defense.