Bankman-Fried prosecutors ask judge to set aside some counts

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US prosecutors in the case against Sam Bankman-Fried asked the judge to set aside five counts the FTX co-founder is contesting to avoid delaying an October trial on the other charges.

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In a Wednesday night letter to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams said a Bahamian court ruling Bankman-Fried won earlier in the week on those five counts would likely delay the trial. Williams said the government was willing to proceed on eight counts and asked that the others be separated into another case.

Bankman-Fried, 31, has argued that charges that were added to his original indictment are invalid because they’re not covered by the extradition agreement by which he returned from the Bahamas to face US prosecution in December. He’s moved to dismiss those counts in the US, and the issue is set to be argued at a hearing before Kaplan on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Bankman-Fried didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bankman-Fried also filed a case in the Bahamas last week, and a judge there ruled Tuesday that he was entitled to court review in that country. The Bahamian judge also blocked the islands’ government from giving a necessary consent to the additional US charges.

Williams said in his letter that “it now appears that litigation of that motion will take some time and may not be resolved until near or even after the trial date.”

The eight counts on which prosecutors want to proceed are the most serious against Bankman-Fried, who operated his crypto empire from the Bahamas. The December indictment accused him of orchestrating a yearslong fraud scheme at FTX that cost customers and investors billions of dollars.

In February, as Bankman-Fried was living at his parent’s California house after being released on a $250 million bail package, prosecutors filed a superseding indictment charging him with four more offenses. A month later, it added another charge to the list — accusing Bankman-Fried of bribing Chinese officials to unfreeze $40 million frozen on a crypto exchange.

The case is US v. Bankman-Fried, 22-cr-673, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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