Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced co-founder and former CEO of FTX, is seeking dismissal of multiple criminal charges through his legal team. The lawyers argue that most of the charges against Bankman-Fried cannot be prosecuted by the government and should be dismissed before the trial begins.
The defense team has filed seven motions to dismiss charges, including fraud-related charges that they claim are duplicative and a campaign finance-related charge. They argue that the latter charge violates the terms under which the Bahamian government extradited Bankman-Fried to the U.S. for prosecution.
Bankman-Fried's lawyers maintain that FTX's practices were standard in the crypto industry and blame the U.S. government's regulatory wrangling for the company's downfall. They argue that FTX, like many other cryptocurrency market participants, lacked fully developed controls and risk management protocols. The defense team contends that FTX's failure is due to a broader market collapse, rather than the company's alleged failure to back its native token FTT or secret loans from FTX to Alameda Research.
Drawing parallels between the collapse of various digital asset firms and the 2008 global financial crisis, Bankman-Fried's lawyers argue that every major participant in the crypto industry faced similar challenges. They believe that the U.S. government's pursuit of Bankman-Fried is "a classic rush to judgment."
In the motions filed with the federal Southern District of New York, the defense team claims that a conviction in either of two pairs of charges would amount to double jeopardy, as the charges stem from similar portions of the law. In the U.S., defendants cannot be convicted twice for the same crime. The early defense effort seeks to avoid undue prejudice in the trial and possibly undermine the credibility of prosecutors in the eyes of a court or future jury.
The defense team has also presented more obscure legal arguments against other charges, asserting that the Bahamian government did not consent to some of the allegations brought against Bankman-Fried when it agreed to extradite him. As the trial approaches, it remains to be seen whether these efforts to dismiss charges will be successful.