Judge pushes Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team to consider asking for an extension

Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the US case against Sam Bankman-Fried, is pushing the former FTX CEO’s legal team to consider an extension after they filed multiple letters complaining about millions of pages of discovery given to them by the US earlier this week.

According to filings, the US has handed over nearly eight million pages in discovery. 

The issue isn’t just about the volume of discovery, which the government attributes to a mishap with Google, but also the alleged inability of Bankman-Fried to review the discovery.

“The plan is plainly inadequate and violates Mr. Bankman-Fried’s Sixth Amendment right to participate in preparing his defense and his right to receive effective assistance of counsel,” the lawyers said earlier this week.

Bankman-Fried’s bail was revoked in early August by Judge Kaplan, and he’s been detained at the Manhattan Detention Complex (MDC) since then. 

His lawyers claim that he can’t dedicate meaningful time to his case. This has resulted in multiple letters from both the defense and the government being submitted to the Court.

While the Court declined to rule on a temporary release for the FTX founder during the Wednesday hearing, the judge asked both sides to put together a joint report on the state of Bankman-Fried’s accessibility to his defense preparation, which they are expected to file by Tuesday, Sept. 7.  

Kaplan said he wants to know “what’s in place, what works, and if anything doesn’t work, [he] want[s] to know about that, too.”

Additionally, the judge asked Bankman-Fried’s lawyers to consider asking for an extension ahead of Oct. 3 trial date following his dismissal of the in limine motion. Lawyers had previously sought the in limine motion to attempt to block the US from using the newer discovery in the trial. 

Kaplan urged the defense to file any motion for postponement by the end of this week, but also noted that he may not grant it because there has to “be more meat on those bones to make out the kind of case that defendants are putting to me.”

Judge Kaplan indicated that a delay might be granted after this week, without specifying a hard deadline. However, he emphasized that a jury request must be made by Sept. 7. The situation becomes more complex if he requests a jury and it is subsequently deemed unnecessary because of the postponement.

The hearing comes after the US filed to dismiss seven testimonies, saying that the experts picked by Bankman-Fried’s team “suffer from an array of deficiencies.”

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