No-Nonsense Judge Takes Over FTX-Bankman-Fried Criminal Case
Recently, a no-nonsense judge takes over FTX-bankman-fried criminal case. Sam Bankman-cryptocurrency Fried's case was given to a federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday. This judge has been in charge of many high-profile cases for the past 30 years and is known for making quick decisions and not taking any nonsense.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan was assigned to the case after the previous judge recused herself because her husband worked for a legal firm that had done work linked to Bankman-defunct Fried's crypto exchange FTX. Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas two weeks ago and extradited to the United States last week to face allegations of defrauding investors and stealing customer money on his FTX trading platform.
On Thursday, he was released from custody to live with his parents in Palo Alto, California on a $250 million personal recognizance bail and an electronic monitoring device to keep an eye on his whereabouts. Kaplan, now 78, was nominated to the bench by President Clinton in 1994 and has served as a senior judge in Manhattan's federal court for almost a decade. Since then, he has presided over a number of high-profile trials and important financial matters, including what authorities described as the first federal bitcoin securities fraud conviction.
The defendant was sentenced to 18 months in jail by Kaplan. In 2014, he barred the use of U.S. courts to collect a $9 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron for rainforest damage, claiming that lawyers in the case had tainted an honorable goal with illegal and wrongful behavior. In 2012, he postponed accepting a guilty plea from a Utah banker, requiring prosecutors to explain in writing why they were allowing the banker to plead guilty to a misdemeanor bank gaming crime rather than a felony.
Over the years, Kaplan has been known to become irritated with lawyers on all sides. He chastised the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, as the government's immigration department was previously named, in 1997 for failing to move quickly enough in an asylum case. Kaplan stated:
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This is about as expedited as a glacier going uphill ... absolutely outrageous. The INS has in the three years I’ve been on the bench acquitted itself in disastrous fashion more than once, but this one takes the cake and I’m not going to stand for it much longer.
He decided in favor of the motion picture industry in 2000, providing them with legal protection to prevent DVDs from being copied on computers. He said:
Computer code is not purely expressive any more than the assassination of a political figure is purely a political statement,
Most recently, Kaplan ruled over Kevin Spacey's autumn civil trial after a fellow actor accused him of molesting him in his apartment during a party when he was 14 and Spacey was 26. A jury found that actor Anthony Rapp had not proven his case against Spacey.
Kaplan is now presiding over a civil action brought against ex-President Donald Trump by former Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll. Carroll said Trump assaulted her in a Manhattan luxury department store changing room in 1995 or 1996. Trump has refuted the charges. A trial is set for April. The illustrious judge was also presiding over sex abuse allegations leveled by an American woman against Britain's Prince Andrew before the two sides reached an agreement earlier this year, with Andrew declaring that he never intended to malign her character and agreeing to donate to the woman's charity.
Kaplan had already refused Andrew's plea to dismiss the complaint. Kaplan sentenced three men to prison in 2019 after they were found guilty in a college basketball scam in which a former Adidas executive and two others paid families to encourage top college basketball prospects to play for Adidas-sponsored schools.
Sam Bankman-Fried Back In U.S. To Face Fraud Charges Linked To FTX Collapse
Nearly a decade ago, Kaplan gave Ahmed Ghailani, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, a life sentence. Ghailani was found guilty of plotting to blow up American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, and Kaplan was in charge of his trial. There were 224 people killed in the attacks, and 12 of them were American.
In 2015, an Egyptian lawyer named Adel Abdul Bary was given a 25-year prison sentence for his part in the attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa. Judge Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, was given a life sentence in 2014 by Kaplan for his role as al-spokesman Qaida's following the September 11 attacks. Kaplan has previously ruled over the sentencing reduction requests of those convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, which killed six people and injured over a thousand.