FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was sent to jail Friday after the judge overseeing his case revoked his bail. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan found probable cause that the disgraced former CEO repeatedly tampered with witnesses. In addition, Kaplan rejected Bankman-Fried’s attorneys’ request to delay his detention pending appeal.
Prosecutors argued that Bankman-Fried tried to harass a crucial witness last month when he showed a New York Times reporter the personal writings of his former partner Caroline Ellison, a cooperating witness who pleaded guilty in December to criminal charges related to defrauding FTX investors. The prosecution said SBF’s actions were an attempt to damage her reputation and influence prospective jurors. Meanwhile, SBF’s defense team accused prosecutors of using evidence laden with “innuendo, speculation, and scant facts.” Judge Kaplan sided with prosecutors, saying Bankman-Fried attempted to “tamper with witnesses at least twice.”
Reuters reports that the 31-year-old former FTX boss was ushered out of the court by US Marshals “after removing his shoelaces, jacket and tie and emptying his pockets.” The former CEO had been under house arrest in California (at his parents’ home in Palo Alto) since he was extradited in December following his arrest in the Bahamas last December. His $250 million bail package tightly controlled his internet usage.