Judge closes door on FTX founder's hopes of being free during trial

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Judge closes door on FTX founder's hopes of being free during trial

A judge on Thursday closed the door on FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried's hopes of being free during his trial, although he extended the hours that the cryptocurrency peddler can meet with his lawyers in a federal courthouse.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected a request from Bankman-Fried's lawyers to free their client so he could better prepare his defense against charges that he defrauded cryptocurrency investors.

Bankman-Fried, 31, faces the start of his trial Tuesday in Manhattan. He haspleaded not guilty to a charge of larceny.

He told Kaplan that his lawyer, Mark Cohen, cannot meaningfully confer with his client as long as Bankman-Fried is jailed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

And he said there was no risk that Bankman-Fried would flee, prompting Kaplan to interrogate him.

Kaplan revoked Bankman-Fried's $250 million bond last month after finding out that Bankman-Fried had tried to influence potential trial witnesses.

Bankman-Fried, who was brought to the United States last December from the Bahamas, had been required to stay at his parent's Palo Alto, California home with limited access to electronics.

Prosecutors say they were involved in the company's multibillion-dollar collapse after the equivalent of a bank run.

Kaplan said Bankman-Fried has had enough time to prepare for trial in the more than seven months, when he had unlimited access to evidence turned over by prosecutors and as a result of 'extraordinary' measures taken at the federal jail to enable him to work on his defense.

He said the trial against him was 'by no means unique' in presenting challenges for review of evidence. Some drug conspiracy cases stem from hundreds of thousands of hours of audio and surveillance tapes, often in foreign languages, he said.

The judge said he wanted to make every effort to accommodate the defendant's concerns and would therefore order him to be brought to the courthouse at 7 a.m. on some days to work with his lawyers prior to the start of the trial day several hours later.

The trial will last up to six weeks.