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SBF asks judge to keep the identifies of his bail sureties confidential


Founder of defunct crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), requested federal judge Lewis Kaplan to keep the identities of his additional bail guarantors secret. Judge Kaplan was assigned to oversee SBF’s criminal trial after judge Ronnie Abrams recused herself citing a potential conflict of interest.

In a letter dated Jan. 3, SBF’s lawyers asked judge Kaplan to redact the names and identifying information of the two individuals who will co-sign SBF’s bail bond. The lawyers also requested that the personal data of the individuals who will provide bail sureties not be publicly disclosed by the government.

SBF was granted a $250 million bail on Dec. 22, 2022 — the highest pre-trial bail bond in US history. The bond was secured by SBF’s parents, who pledged the equity in their house in Palo Alto, California. Large bail bonds only require asset backing of around 10% of the bail amount, which becomes payable if the defendant skips town.

SBF and his parents signed the bail bond, but the judge — as is usual in the case of large bail amounts — asked that the bond be signed by two other individuals of “considerable means,” one of whom should not be a relative.

For large bail bonds like that of SBF, courts often require multiple people to sign on as sureties to ensure that the defendant appears in court. Defense lawyers often seek to mask the identities of the bail guarantors to shield them from public criticism.

The letter stated that the two additional guarantors of SBF’s bail bond intend to sign by the deadline of Jan. 5.

As per a Bloomberg report, SBF’s lawyers wrote in the letter:

“If the two remaining sureties are publicly identified, they will likely be subjected to probing media scrutiny and potentially targeted for harassment, despite having no substantive connection to the case.”

In the FTX bankruptcy case, a judge granted anonymity to FTX creditors, including those with substantial net worths, who did not wish their names to be made public.

SBF is scheduled to appear in the Southern District of New York court later today. SBF is reportedly expected to enter a plea of ‘not guilty.’ In addition to money laundering charges, SBF faces multiple counts of fraud, including wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud.

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