FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has seemingly been doing it tough behind bars, eating only bread with peanut butter to accommodate his vegan diet, while exhausting his supply of prescription medication.
In the same hearing where Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to seven fraud-related charges, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers pleaded for the former FTX CEO to receive better treatment inside Brooklyn’s notorious Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), according to an Aug. 22 transcript shared by the Inner City Press.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys claimed that due to the lack of vegan options provided by the prison, he had been forced to subsist on a diet of bread, peanut butter and water. The former FTX boss refused to eat the “flesh diet” being served at the MDC.
Mark Cohen: They are serving him a flesh diet. He is only eating bread and water, and sometimes peanut butter. This is one of the most complex cases in this courthouse. This is outrageous and it needs to be remedied.
Judge Netburn: I will look into this, today
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) August 22, 2023
Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, noted that his client hadn’t received his ADHD medication since arriving in prison and was “fearful” they would run out.
“My client takes Adderall… And like many people in the world, he follows a vegan diet. He had not received his Adderall at all, in the last 11 days,” said Cohen.
Cointelegraph uncovered a commissary list from 2020 which reveals that SBF could be paying $3.15 for peanut butter on a menu that consists almost entirely of meat, dairy and fast food.
U.S. Federal Court Judge Sarah Netburn said she’d look further into Bankman-Fried’s treatment.
Related: Sam Bankman-Fried prosecutors submit proposed jury instructions for trial
Bankman-Fried’s legal team argued that his imprisonment was impacting their ability to prepare for his upcoming trials — the first of which is scheduled for Oct. 2 this year.
“There are serious Sixth Amendment issues. Our client cannot prepare for trial. He was remanded since August 11. No discovery for 11 days, six weeks from trial. It is voluminous, it can only be reviewed online. We have been offered only fictions as solutions.”
On Aug. 21 Judge Kaplan ordered that Bankman-Fried could contact his lawyers in a one-time release on Aug. 22. He was allowed access to one internet-enabled laptop connected to one WiFi device.
In the most recent hearing, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said they had received an offer where he would potentially be able to visit the New York courthouse two days a week from 9am to 3pm.
However, they noted that Bankman-Fried would only be given access to a pencil and paper and would have to communicate with them by pressing what he’d written against the glass barrier between them.
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