Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-FriedREUTERS/Andrew Kelly

FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried will head to jail on Friday after a judge sided with a request by federal prosecutors to revoke his bail over alleged witness tampering, NBC News reported.

Bankman-Fried will be remanded to custody directly from a court hearing in New York, where he will remain ahead of his criminal trial — which is due to begin on Oct. 2.

Judge Lewis Kaplan denied Bankman-Fried’s request for delayed detention pending an appeal.

Bahamian authorities arrested Bankman-Fried in December of 2022 at the request of the US government. He was subsequently extradited to the US.

In January, he entered a "not guilty" plea to eight other criminal charges from his original indictment, including fraud.

Since his arrest in December, Bankman-Fried had been out on a $250 million bail package which requires him to remain at his parents’ Palo Alto, California house.

Bankman-Fried’s court appearance on Friday is the latest in a series of pre-trial hearings related to the ex-billionaire’s continued dealings with the press, exchanges which the Justice Department characterizes as a “pattern of witness tampering and evading his bail conditions.”

Judge Kaplan previously issued a direct and stern warning to Bankman-Fried in July over his conversations with the media.

Members of the press, including counsel for The New York Times and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, had filed letters objecting to Bankman-Fried’s detention, citing free speech concerns, according to NBC News. Defense attorneys had similarly argued that Bankman-Fried was asserting his first amendment right and did not violate any terms of his bail conditions by speaking with journalists.

Lawyers representing the former FTX chief stipulated that with Bankman-Fried jailed, he would not be able to properly prepare for his trial due to the mountainous amounts of discovery documents only accessible via a computer with internet access.

In the motion requesting Bankman-Fried’s detention, the government said that, over the last several months, the defendant had sent over 100 emails to the media and had made over 1,000 phone calls to members of the press. The final straw, according to prosecutors, was Bankman-Fried leaking private diary entries of his ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, to the New York Times. Ellison pleaded guilty to federal charges in Dec. 2022.

The government added that Bankman-Fried had over 100 phone calls with one of the authors of the Times story prior to publication — many of which lasted for approximately 20 minutes.

The prosecution described the effort by Bankman-Fried as an attempt to discredit Ellison. The argument that proved sufficient to convince Judge Kaplan to send Bankman-Fried to jail ahead of his trial.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)