Judge says arguments behind SBF’s motions to dismiss criminal charges are ‘moot or without merit’

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A federal judge overseeing the case against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has denied motions from his legal team seeking to dismiss all but three criminal charges against him.

In a June 27 filing in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Lewis Kaplan issued a memorandum opinion on motions that would have stopped the discovery and disclosure of certain information related to SBF’s criminal case. Bankman-Fried’s legal team filed motions on May 8 aiming to have the judge dismiss 10 out of the 13 criminal counts he faces, which would have left only conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The judge considered whether to dismiss 10 charges, which included wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and violations of campaign finance laws. He largely denied the basis for the motions, citing precedent from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

“Dismissal of charges ‘is an “extraordinary remedy” reserved only for extremely limited circumstances implicating fundamental rights,‘” said Kaplan. “The Second Circuit has deemed dismissal an ‘extreme sanction’ that has been upheld ‘only in very limited and extreme circumstances,’ and should be ‘reserved for the truly extreme cases,’ ‘especially where serious criminal conduct is involved.’”

The judge added in his conclusion:

“The Court has considered all of the arguments of the parties. To the extent not addressed herein, the arguments are either moot or without merit.”

Bankman-Fried will face all eight charges originally brought in December 2022, four added in February 2023 as part of a superseding indictment, and one in March 2023 related to the former CEO allegedly bribing a Chinese government official. However, the last five counts will be addressed in a separate trial scheduled to start in March 2024 due to their addition following SBF’s extradition from the Bahamas. His first trial is scheduled to begin in October.

Related: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried now faces two criminal trials

The former FTX CEO has pleaded not guilty to all charges. In December 2022, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang pleaded guilty to related federal fraud charges.

Both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission are expected to bring civil lawsuits against SBF following the conclusion of his criminal trials. FTX’s bankruptcy case is also ongoing in the District of Delaware.

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