Sam Bankman-Fried to appear in court over lawyer conflict

Sam Bankman-Fried to appear in court over lawyer conflict

Sam Bankman-Fried is set for a court appearance in New York today for the first time since his conviction in November.

The court visit addresses concerns about the potential conflict of interest regarding his recently appointed legal team, representing Alex Mashinsky, the former CEO of Celsius Network Ltd., at his upcoming trial on Mar. 28.

The issue was brought to the forefront by prosecutors, who requested that U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ensure Bankman-Fried comprehends the potential conflict of interest his lawyers, Marc Mukasey and Torrey Young, may have. The court seeks to understand whether Bankman-Fried is prepared to forego his Sixth Amendment rights for effective counsel under these circumstances.

Earlier this week, Mashinsky expressed his decision to a federal judge, saying he’s willing to overlook any possible conflicts arising from Bankman-Fried’s attorneys representing him. 

The former FTX founder is facing potential imprisonment of up to 120 years for seven counts of wire fraud, embezzlement, and criminal conspiracy. He was found guilty on all charges.

The prosecution highlighted a potential conflict, noting that Mashinsky attributed part of Celsius’s bankruptcy to decisions made by Alameda Research. Given Alameda’s significant role as one of the major creditors at the time of Celsius’s bankruptcy in 2022, there are concerns about the new lawyers’ access to certain records.

Previous discussions about Bankman-Fried possibly acquiring Celsius and replacing Mashinsky before its collapse have also been flagged as potential sources of conflict. However, the prosecution believes these conflict issues are not insurmountable, suggesting the possibility of a waiver.

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