U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has decided that prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice can bring information about Sam Bankman-Fried’s political donations to his upcoming fraud trial.
The judge made this decision because he believes this information is directly relevant to the fraud charges against Bankman-Fried.
The decision was part of a series of rulings in an order issued on September 26, where Kalpan clarified which evidence could be admissible in court during the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried which is set to start on October 3.
“Evidence that the defendant spent FTX customer funds on political contributions is direct evidence of the wire fraud scheme because it is relevant to establishing the defendant’s motive and allegedly fraudulent intent,” Kaplan wrote.
Initially, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged Bankman-Fried, with working together with others to violate U.S. campaign finance laws. Later on, those charges were dropped.
However, in a written order issued on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan stated that the evidence related to Bankman-Fried’s political donations was deeply connected to the charges against him for defrauding customers of FTX. These charges allege that he unlawfully took billions of dollars from customers’ deposits.
Kalpan not only allowed discussions about Bankman Fried’s campaign donations but also agreed to let the prosecution present evidence that talks about how Bankman-Fried might be involved in creating the FTX token. They want to show how he told Alameda Research and its former CEO, Caroline Ellison, to manipulate the token’s price.