Bankman-Fried Criminal Case Assigned To Judge In bin Laden, Epstein-Linked Cases
With Sam Bankman-Fried - a democrat donor so generous a March 2021 interview in the leftist outlet VOX said that SBF was "among the people most responsible" for Joe Biden being in office - spending hundreds of millions to buy favors, influence and fawning media support, it was hardly a surprise when we learned last week that Judge Ronnie Abrams (appointed by Barack Obama in 2012) recused herself from prosecuting SBF in his upcoming criminal case due to work her husband Greg Andres' law firm Davis Polk did for FTX (before joining Davis Polk, Andres served as an Assistant Special Counsel for Russian interference in 2016 United States elections under Robert Mueller).
So fast forward to today when Sam Bankman-Fried's criminal case was reassigned to Bill Clinton-appointed District Judge Lewis Kaplan, recently known for handling a Epstein-linked sexual abuse lawsuit against Britain's Prince Andrew, and defamation lawsuits against Donald Trump, and is also known for presiding over a number of federal racketeering cases involving Mafia members. In April 2010, Kaplan was assigned to preside over the cases of 14 Gambino crime family members arrested on charges, among others, of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, witness tampering (in the 1992 trial of John Gotti), and sex trafficking of a minor.
Known for his no-nonsense demeanor in the courtroom, Kaplan, 78, who has held senior status in Manhattan federal court for over a decade, oversees two civil lawsuits by former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll accusing Trump of defaming her by denying he raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room 27 years ago.
Kaplan also recently oversaw Virginia Giuffre's civil lawsuit accusing Prince Andrew of sexually abusing her when she was 17 at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, the now-convicted former associate of late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew declared that he never meant to malign her character and agreeing to donate to the woman’s charity. Prior to the settlement, Kaplan had refused Andrew’s request to toss the lawsuit. That said, not a single VIP on Epstein's rolodex or flight logs has been prosecuted.
In 2010, Kaplan presided over the first case where charges against Guantanamo captives were laid in a civilian court. On February 9 of that year, Kaplan ordered Ahmed Ghailani's prosecution to review the record of Ghailani's detention in the CIA's network of black sites.
Kaplan has also overseen numerous high-profile trials and several cases notable in the financial world, including what authorities had described as the first federal bitcoin securities fraud prosecution. According to Fortune, Kaplan sentenced the defendant to 18 months in prison.
In 2014, he blocked U.S. courts from being used to collect a $9 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron for rainforest damage, saying lawyers in the case had poisoned an honorable quest with illegal and wrongful conduct. And in 2012, he delayed his acceptance of a guilty plea by a Utah banker, ordering prosecutors to explain in writing why they were letting the banker plead guilty to a misdemeanor bank gambling charge rather than a felony.
Also in 2014, Kaplan sentenced Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, to life in prison for serving as al-Qaida’s mouthpiece after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Most recently, Kaplan presided over the fall civil trial of Kevin Spacey after a fellow actor accused him of trying to molest him in his apartment after a party when he was 14 and Spacey was 26. A jury sided with Spacey, finding that actor Anthony Rapp had not proved his case against him.
Kaplan has been known over the years to become irritable with lawyers on all sides. In 1997, he blasted the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, as the government’s immigration department was once known, for not acting fast enough in an asylum case.
Last week the DOJ accused Bankman-Fried of causing billions of dollars of losses related to FTX, once the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, including by using customer funds to support his Alameda Research crypto trading platform, which he then used as his own personal piggybank. SBF has claimed that the collapse of FTX was due to risk-management failures, but said he does not believe he is criminally liable for what prosecutors called a "fraud of epic proportions." Alas, that defense no longer works now that both of his top two partners in crime, Allameda "boss" Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, have flipped on Sam and are cooperating with prosecutors.
After being extradited to New York from the Bahamas to face the charges, the 30-year-old Bankman-Fried was released on Thursday on a $250 million bond, and required to remain under detention at his parents' California home. He has not entered a plea.