US District Judge Lewis Kaplan from Manhattan has been assigned to hear the criminal case against FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) following the recusal of the previous judge Ronnie Abrams.
🚨 Sam Bankman-Fried’s case reassigned to Bill Clinton appointed Judge, Lewis Kaplan.
(Photo credit: Danny Nelson, April 2022) pic.twitter.com/rUcIhlTwRw
— Jane Adams (@iLoveJaneAdams) December 27, 2022
On Dec. 24, Federal Judge Ronnie Abrams recused herself from the SBF case, citing a possible conflict of interest.
Her husband, a partner in Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, provided legal advice to FTX, a now-defunct crypto exchange, in 2021, according to Abrams. She also disclosed that her husband is representing parties that may be opposing the bankruptcy proceeding of the cryptocurrency exchange.
The US Department of Justice accused Bankman-Fried of using customer funds to support Alameda Research’s crypto trading operations, which caused billions of dollars in losses.
Although Bankman-Fried admitted failings in risk management at FTX, he says he is not criminally liable for the fraud charges.
SBF was released on Dec. 22 on a $250 million bond and ordered to remain under detention at his parents’ home in California after being extradited to New York from the Bahamas.
Lewis Kaplan known for his no-nonsense approach in court
Kaplan was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.
Throughout the years, Kaplan has been known to become impatient with lawyers from both sides. Over the course of his career, he has presided over numerous high-profile trials and notable financial cases, including the case of Bitcoin Savings and Trust. Kaplan sentenced Trendon Shavers, the owner of the firm, to 18 months in prison.
Currently, he is also overseeing two civil lawsuits filed against former President Trump by former Elle magazine columnist E Jean Carroll.