Sam Bankman-Fried lawyers decry proposed 100 year sentence as ‘barbaric,’ seeks 78 months

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now-defunct FTX exchange, is pushing for a lighter prison term, aiming for 78 months or less, according to a Feb. 27 court filing.

Bankman-Fried’s legal team, led by Marc Mukasey, criticized the Pre-sentence Investigation Report (PSR) recommendation of a 100-year sentence as “barbaric.” The lawyers highlighted SBF’s status as a first-time offender and the potential for FTX clients to recover most of their funds.

His lawyers further contended that FTX’s financial status at bankruptcy indicated no actual harm to clients, lenders, or investors. They clarified that the $8 billion deficit cited by the government merely reflected a temporary shortage in liquid assets due to an extraordinary surge in customer withdrawals.

“If FTX had halted withdrawals on November 8th with $8 billion in withdrawal requests pending and then resumed withdrawals on November 15th after selling sufficient assets to cover the $8 billion, then there would not have been any customer ‘losses,’” the lawyers explained.

In addition, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys stressed their client’s educational background, philanthropic endeavors, and commitment to rectifying losses stemming from FTX’s collapse.

As such, the lawyers told US District Judge Lewis Kaplan that a reduced prison sentence would be appropriate for SBF. They wrote:

A sentence of decades-long duration would end Sam’s ability to lead a meaningful life and contribute to the neediest in society and would be greater than necessary to serve the purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2).”

SBF was convicted on multiple counts of fraud and money laundering last November. He faces a potential maximum sentence of 110 years, and his sentencing has been scheduled for March 28.

Bankman-Fried last appeared in court on Feb. 21, where he waived potential conflicts of interest for his legal representation, representing former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky.

Meanwhile, the FTX founder has reportedly been giving crypto tips at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, where he is incarcerated. According to a New York Times report, SBF advised correctional officers to invest in Solana, a digital asset with which he has a long history of association. 

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