Sam Bankman-Fried, who was pulled away from house arrest in Palo Alto upon being accused of leaking his ex-girlfriend’s personal writings, is in Brooklyn jail — and missing some basic comforts.
The disgraced cryptocurrency mogul, who is vegan, is living on bread, water and peanut butter and hasn’t been getting his prescribed Adderall medication, Bankman-Fried’s defense attorney said in federal court Tuesday. Bankman-Fried, 31, also pleaded not guilty to wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering charges from a new indictment, which updates prosecutors’ handling of his political contributions. His trial is set for Oct. 2; he’s been in jail since Aug. 11.
The new indictment, which supersedes older versions, includes allegations that Bankman-Fried embezzled $100 million from customers of his crypto exchange, FTX, and then used that money for political campaign gifts to encourage friendly regulation. Prosecutors dropped a campaign finance law violation charge in July, Reuters reported, and roped the political allegations into a fraud charge in the new indictment.
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But Bankman-Fried’s food habits temporarily took center stage Tuesday, reports say.
Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center hasn’t accommodated his vegan diet with anything but bread, water and “sometimes peanut butter,” his attorney, Mark Cohen, told the court, according to CNBC. Cohen reportedly said the jailed executive is offered only the standard “flesh meals.”
The magistrate judge presiding over the hearing, Sarah Netburn, responded that she thinks the jail has a vegetarian diet available but not a vegan one and said she’d contact the Bureau of Prisons, according to NBC News and CNN.
Cohen also claimed Bankman-Fried isn’t getting Adderall, the medication he’s prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the reports said. Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan, the same one who revoked Bankman-Fried’s bail after prosecutors argued he was tampering with witnesses and put him in the Brooklyn jail, ordered last week that Bankman-Fried be given his prescribed Adderall and antidepressant patches, CNBC reported.
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Another Bankman-Fried attorney argued that his inability to prepare a sound defense because he’s sitting in jail without internet access could pose “serious Sixth Amendment issues,” CNBC reported. His attorneys also complained about the jail’s conditions when they represented Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of financier Jeffrey Epstein, the New York Post reported. Maxwell stayed in the same jail before her 2021 sex trafficking trial.
The Brooklyn jail is “notorious for poor conditions,” Reuters wrote earlier this month, including “power outages and maggots in inmates’ food.”
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