Prosecutors withdraw 5 charges against Sam Bankman-Fried to ensure trial proceeds on schedule
Federal prosecutors chose to withdraw charges that were not part of SBF's extradition request after the Bahamas raised concerns over them that could delay the trial.
Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s attempt to strike some of the accusations from his charge sheet may have backfired after prosecutors requested the court “sever” five of the newer charges from the case.
New York federal prosecutors made the request in a letter addressed to presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan filed on June 15.
The withdrawn charges will instead be levied in 2024 and adjudicated under a separate trial, meaning SBF will now have to face two cases.
SBF’s lawyers recently argued in front of both U.S. and Bahamian judges that five of the charges levied against the FTX founder had not been included in the extradition request and, as such, should not be part of the trial.
They filed a motion to dismiss the charges in the Bahamas on June 7.
The move prompted Bahamian judges to issue an order on June 14 to review the case in an effort to ascertain whether U.S. prosecutors had followed appropriate procedures when bringing the new charges.
Prosecutors initially said they would not remove the charges if the Bahamian attorney general consented. However, the country’s Supreme Court blocked the move and said SBF had the right to contest the additional charges.
Not wanting to take any chances, federal prosecutors have chosen to withdraw the charges that were levied outside the extradition request — including the allegations related to bribing foreign officials and illicit political donations.
Prosecutors said they chose to sever the new charges to avoid any delays in the proceedings as the Bahamian review could take a “lengthy” time.
“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 current trial will proceed on schedule and will only include the original eight charges listed in the extradition agreement with the former billionaire.
However, SBF will still have to face the charges at a later date as the “severance” will give the U.S. government enough time to iron out any issues with the Bahamas.