Sunday, July 14, 2024

This Tuesday, US district judge Lewis Kaplan turned down Sam Bankman-Fried’s plea to dismiss the criminal allegations leveled against him. The claimant, Bankman-Fried, asserts that his charges contravene the “rule of specialty” related to the extradition treaty between the Bahamas and the United States.

Bankman-Fried’s Request for Dismissal Overruled by Judge

On June 27, 2023, the US district judge, Lewis Kaplan, overruled the bid by the scandal-ridden FTX co-founder, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), to get his criminal allegations dismissed. SBF’s move was to have the post-extradition charges (counts 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, and 13) dismissed, as he and his legal team argue that these charges infringe upon the “rule of specialty”.

Fundamentally, SBF suggested that the extradition procedure from the Bahamas to the United States did not comply with the rule of specialty since he was accused of extra crimes that were not included in the extradition application.

His legal team stressed that the United States had overstepped the original agreement by pressing charges not covered by the extradition terms. However, Judge Kaplan ruled that the charges filed against Bankman-Fried were within the allowed boundaries of the extradition treaty.

Consequently, the judge dismissed Bankman-Fried’s effort to have the criminal charges thrown out, indicating that he will have to stand trial for the offenses identified during the extradition proceedings.

The judge affirmed that the charges are “properly aligned with the other pre-extradition charges in this case because a common scheme unifies them.” The court filing elaborated on this common scheme as being to “accelerate the growth of FTX and Alameda and to enrich the defendant thereby.”

Interestingly, SBF sought to have counts 1 and 2, which encompass the charges of “conspiring to commit and committing wire fraud on FTX customers”, dismissed. He maintains that these charges should be dropped since the indictment does not cite any “financial harm” to FTX customers. Kaplan, however, contradicts this stance, asserting:

The defendant is both factually incorrect and legally misinformed.

Much of SBF’s defense relies on the language used in the indictments and jurisdictional ambiguities to argue for the dismissal of the charges. However, the judge repeatedly states that the defendant’s arguments are “unpersuasive”, and that the charges against SBF “are legally adequate.”

Judge Kaplan expressed that the arguments for dismissal are “either irrelevant or lacking validity,” and due to these reasons, the dismissal request is rejected. “Consequently, the motion to dismiss for improper venue is rejected without prejudice to renewal under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29,” the judge concluded.

We invite your opinions and views on Judge Kaplan’s decision and the defenses put forward by Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team. Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.

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