FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried to Implicate Fenwick & West Lawyers in Defense

Police & Regulations
Aug 23, 2023 at 01:58 pm

Sam Bankman-Fried made an appearance in court on Tuesday, entering a plea of not guilty in response to the latest indictment against him.

Bankman-Fried is preparing to mount a defense centered on the argument that his actions were taken in "good faith." He asserts that his actions, including providing loans to FTX and Alameda executives, configuring Signal messages for auto-deletion, and establishing North American entities, were all guided by legal advice from various attorneys, including those at the law firm Fenwick & West.

In a letter released by Bankman-Fried's defense team on Wednesday, they outlined the strategy of relying on "advice of counsel." The letter indicated that they will present evidence to demonstrate that both in-house attorneys and those from Fenwick & West were actively involved in reviewing and approving decisions related to the matters in question.

The letter emphasized that the presentation of evidence showcasing Bankman-Fried's reliance on legal advice isn't limited to instances where formal advice was explicitly sought, received, and followed. This strategy aims to shed light on Bankman-Fried's intent and decision-making process.

CoinDesk reached out to Fenwick & West for comments, but a response had not been received at the time of reporting.

The letter also addressed the Department of Justice's request for additional information about the defense strategy. It pointed out that prosecutors had previously resisted sharing information with the defense team, which highlights the ongoing legal complexities of the case.

Bankman-Fried's court appearance on Tuesday marked his plea of not guilty to the updated indictment, which includes charges of wire fraud and conspiracy. His trial is scheduled to commence in early October.

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