22 August 2023 | 11:40
Sam Bankman-Fried couldn’t prepare for his upcoming trial because he wasn’t getting his ADHD medication at the Brooklyn jail — which also appears to refuse to serve vegan food, his lawyers complained at a court hearing Tuesday.
“He now lives on bread and water and an occasional peanut butter,” Bankman-Fried defense attorney Mark Cohen told a Manhattan federal judge.
Cohen said his recently jailed client, the founder of the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was a vegan who “continued to follow his principles” and was forced onto a simple diet because he was “served on a meat diet” in the troubled Metropolitan Detention Center. . Middle.
Lawyers filed the complaint at a hearing where Bankman-Fried – who wore a cream-colored prison suit and ankle shackles – pleaded not guilty to charges that he misappropriated billions of customer funds to live lavishly and support shrewd investments in hedge funds that connect with FTX, Alameda Research.
The 31-year-old crypto criminal suspect was also stripped of his constitutional right to plead at his trial on Oct. 2 because he had not been given Adderall to treat his ADHD and help him focus for 11 days, and also had not been “unable to access the records in his case,” his lawyers claim.
“Given the current circumstances, there is no way for him to prepare his defense or provide reasonable assistance in his defense,” another Bankman-Fried attorney, Christian Everdell, told the judge.
“[Trial is] to be filed in six weeks in one of the most complex cases in this courthouse,” Cohen added. “He was not put on medication to focus.”
In prison, Bankman-Fried does not have access to a laptop with internet and under current orders he can only come to the courthouse twice a week to review the “overwhelming” evidence in his case – which is “unacceptable” and “insufficient,” argued Everdell.
Judge Sarah Netburn said she would look into all medication and dietary issues and propose a middle ground plan.
“I’m pretty sure they have vegetarian options available,” Netburn said of the staff at MDC – the notorious federal prison that once housed Jeffrey Epstein’s best friend, Ghislaine Maxwell.
“A vegan diet may not be available, but I assume a vegetarian is available,” adds Netburn.
Earlier, Bankman-Fried walked into the courtroom nodding curtly at his mother who was seated in the second row of the gallery and who later burst into tears when she heard the circumstances that her son was allegedly being held behind bars.
Once seated, Bankman-Fried sipped a bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water that sat on the table beside him for the rest of the hearing.
The engaged Bankman-Fried nodded and calmly told the judge he had seen the latest charges against him, including wire fraud charges and multiple conspiracy charges.
Earlier this month, a different judge ordered Bankman-Fried to be locked up pending trial for allegedly leaking the diaries of his ex-girlfriend and business partner Caroline Ellison — who took out a plea deal and is scheduled to be the primary witness against him at trial. .
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