Sam Bankman-Fried is back in court, waives conflict of interest for lawyers

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Former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried returned to the courtroom for one of the first times since his conviction to address potential conflicts of interest in his lawyers.

According to a Feb. 21 report from Inner City Press, Bankman-Fried waived his right to conflict-free legal representation with lawyers Marc Mukasey and Torrey Young. The two attorneys filed notices of appearance with both SBF and former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, who took similar action in a Feb. 20 hearing.

The courtroom appearance in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York marked one of the first times Bankman-Fried had been seen outside of jail since a jury convicted the former FTX CEO of seven felony counts in November 2023. SBF’s life behind bars has been mainly out of the media spotlight, but on Feb. 19, photos surfaced showing the former FTX CEO with other inmates.

According to Inner City Press, Mukasey and Young would continue representing SBF and Mashinsky. In contrast, lawyers Christian Everdell and Mark Cohen — who represented the former FTX CEO at his criminal trial in October 2023 — would withdraw. Bankman-Fried is scheduled to appear before Judge Lewis Kaplan for sentencing on March 28.

Related: What’s next for the ‘crypto king’ Sam Bankman-Fried?

Bankman-Fried, once considered by many to be the ‘Golden Boy’ of the crypto space, stepped down as CEO of FTX in November 2022. The firm filed for bankruptcy, and SBF was held in custody in the Bahamas until his extradition to the U.S., where he was later charged and convicted for fraud related to the handling of funds between FTX and Alameda Research.

After his October 2023 trial, SBF was initially expected to face five additional felony charges in March. Reports from December suggested prosecutors planned not to proceed with the second trial, citing public interest. Bankman-Fried’s defense team is expected to submit sentencing recommendations by Feb. 27.

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