SBF’s Legal Team Slams DOJ’s ‘Disturbing’ Sentencing Memo

March 20, 2024

A legal showdown is underway as lawyers representing former cryptocurrency exchange magnate, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), launched a scathing attack on the Department of Justice’s sentencing memorandum.

The lawyers have condemned the proposed 50-year imprisonment sentence for their client. Describing the DOJ’s stance as “disturbing” and “marked by hostility,” the legal team penned a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan off the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on March 19, vehemently contesting the severity of the recommended punishment.

Bankman-Fried, formerly hailed as the “King of Crypto,” was convicted of fraud and money laundering after a month-long trial in New York last year. It marked a staggering downfall for the 32-year-old, now facing a potentially lengthy jail term. Bankman-Fried’s troubles started with the collapse of his company, FTX, in 2022, which saw $8 billion in customer funds vanish.

SBF’s attorneys did not mince words in their critique of the DOJ’s sentencing memorandum. They argued that it painted an erroneous picture of SBF, portraying him as a “depraved supervillain” with nefarious intentions. Moreover, they accused the DOJ of employing a medieval approach to punishment, akin to a “death-in-prison sentencing recommendation.”

“The government’s memorandum is disturbing. With marked hostility, the memorandum
distorts reality to support its precious “loss” narrative and casts Sam as a depraved super-villain;
it attributes to him dark and megalomaniacal motives that fly in the face of the record; it makes
apocalyptic prophecies of recidivism; and it adopts a medieval view of punishment to reach what
amounts to a death-in-prison sentencing recommendation. That is not justice.”

Central to their argument was the assertion that the DOJ’s narrative ignored crucial aspects of SBF’s circumstances and vulnerabilities. They emphasized that the proposed sentence was not only disproportionate but also unprecedented, as no federal defendant convicted of a non-violent offense had ever served such a lengthy term and been released.

SBF’s legal team presented a series of arguments to secure a reduced sentence. They contended that the absence of tangible losses, coupled with the assurance of full restitution through bankruptcy proceedings invalidated the notion of severe punishment. The lawyers emphasized that each victim cited in the government’s opposition would receive full reimbursement, plus interest, undermining claims of irreversible harm.

They also challenged the prosecution’s portrayal of SBF as driven by greed, citing his philanthropic endeavors and altruistic actions before establishing crypto entities FTX and Alameda Research.

Importantly, the legal team refuted the assertion that SBF posed a significant risk of re-offending, citing research indicating low rates of recidivism among white-collar, educated individuals with clean prior records.

The attorneys proposed a significantly reduced sentence of a maximum of 78 months, equivalent to 6.5 years, arguing that it would be more commensurate with the circumstances and evidence presented in the case.

As the legal battle intensifies, the outcome remains uncertain, with Judge Kaplan tasked with weighing the arguments presented by both sides before delivering a verdict.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.