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Sam Bankman-Fried to return to court

For one of the initial instances post the conclusion of his initial criminal trial, former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried is scheduled to appear before a judge to discuss potential conflicts of interest regarding his legal team.

A filing dated Feb. 7 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, issued by Judge Lewis Kaplan, mandates Bankman-Fried’s presence in person on Feb. 21 for a Curcio hearing concerning concerns raised about lawyers Marc Mukasey and Torrey Young. In a Curcio hearing, a judge may interrogate a defendant — in this instance, SBF — about his legal representation and whether he was briefed about any potential conflict of interest.

The hearing originated from a letter penned by U.S. prosecutors on Feb. 6, expressing apprehensions about Mukasey and Young, who filed notices of appearance in both SBF’s and former CEO Alex Mashinsky’s cases. Prosecutors highlighted that Celsius had lent money to FTX’s sister company, Alameda Research. Mashinsky partially attributed the firm’s downfall to SBF’s actions — issues that could present a “contrary position” during trial or either former crypto CEOs’ sentencing.

Judges in the respective courtrooms might probe Bankman-Fried and Mashinsky on whether they intend to waive their rights to “conflict-free representation.” As of the time of writing, there is no notification of a comparable Curcio hearing for Mashinsky’s case. The former Celsius CEO’s criminal trial is slated to commence in September.

Bankman-Fried, previously at the helm of one of the largest crypto exchanges globally, was apprehended in the Bahamas post the collapse of FTX in November 2022, extradited to the United States, and indicted on multiple felony charges related to the misuse of funds between the firm and Alameda. He faced 12 charges across two criminal trials scheduled for October 2023 and March 2024.

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In the first trial, a jury found the former FTX CEO guilty on seven felony counts, with a sentencing hearing slated for March 28. Speculations suggest SBF might not face a second trial in March due to his prior conviction.

Following his conviction, SBF has been housed at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center and has mostly been absent from the courtroom as his legal team continued to address motions requesting delays in proceedings. Information from within SBF’s detention facility is scarce, but reports indicate the former CEO might have traded packets of Mackerel for services instead of cryptocurrency.