News - Can SBF still escape jail time?

By Luc Vesters

Can SBF still escape jail time?

One of the biggest criminal cases in U.S. history came to a provisional end in a New York court last night. Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the insolvent crypto exchange FTX, was found guilty by the jury - on all charges. The verdict is still pending, but a long prison sentence seems inevitable; it could be more than 100 years. Can Sam Bankman-Fried still save himself from prison?

The U.S. Attorney's Office charged Sam Bankman-Fried with seven counts: four counts of fraud, two counts of conspiracy and one count of money laundering. He was found guilty on all charges by the 12-member jury.

The evidence was "overwhelming" in favor of conviction, Howard Fischer said. The American lawyer from New York has spent much of his career defending and prosecuting white-collar criminals, including as a senior trial lawyer with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He followed the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried closely. "We had testimony from senior executives at FTX and Alameda that placed the defendant at the center of a criminal enterprise," Fischer said.

SBF "could not convince jury

To defend himself, Bankman-Fried took an unusual step: he himself sat on the witness stand and answered questions from the defense and the prosecution. But SBF "could not convince the jury of his innocence," Fischer said. Instead, he was repeatedly confronted with his own statements in interviews or on X (formerly Twitter). The prosecution was repeatedly able to highlight "inconsistencies" in his statements, Fischer continued.

Will SBF appeal?

SBF now faces a prison term of up to 115 years. How high the sentence will actually be will be decided next year on March 28. That is when Judge Kaplan plans to hand down the sentence.

Whatever sentence is ultimately determined, Fischer is certain that SBF will appeal: "Every verdict can be appealed - and usually is. I think it's a done deal."

But again, the case makes history. While in an appeal trial the defendant is usually free on bail, that is not the case in SBF. Shortly before the trial began, the court ordered pretrial detention. The reason: He allegedly tried to discredit key witness Caroline Ellison by leaking her diaries to the New York Times. Therefore, he must wait in custody until the verdict is announced.

Second trial next year

Regardless of the outcome, there is still a lawsuit against Sam Bankman-Fried. The U.S. Attorney's Office originally charged SBF with a total of 13 counts. Through a deal with the Bahamas, five items (primarily allegations of violations of election campaign laws) were outsourced to a separate proceeding. One item was dropped. Judge Kaplan had scheduled the trial to begin on March 11 next year - two weeks before the first verdict was announced.

Download the Anycoin App

Finally, a crypto app for everyone!

Check it out