Bankman-Fried loses bid to get out of jail, appeals court will hear case

FILE PHOTO: Former FTX Chief Executive Bankman-Fried at a courthouse in New York

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sam Bankman-Fried on Wednesday lost his bid to be freed immediately from a Brooklyn jail so he could prepare better for his criminal trial, less than a month away, over the collapse of his FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

In rejecting Bankman-Fried's request, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan nonetheless said it would ask the next available three-judge panel to consider it.

A spokesman for Bankman-Fried declined to comment.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan on Aug. 11 revoked Bankman-Fried's $250 million bail after finding that the former billionaire likely tampered with witnesses at least twice.

Bankman-Fried quickly appealed, arguing he would be unable to properly prepare for his scheduled Oct. 3 trial from behind bars.

Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried stole billions in FTX customer funds to plug losses at Alameda Research, his hedge fund.

They pushed for Bankman-Fried to be jailed after he shared the personal writings of Caroline Ellison, Alameda's former chief executive and his onetime romantic partner, with a New York Times reporter.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges, and said he shared Ellison's writings to defend his reputation, not to intimidate her.

Ellison is expected to testify against him.

In court papers on Tuesday, Bankman-Fried's lawyers said the arrangement to give him several hours a day to review evidence on a laptop at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn has proven inadequate. They said he lost more than four hours on Friday when he had to return to his cell for a prisoner count, and lost more time over the weekend.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan said the jail has authorized Bankman-Fried's purchase of a second laptop.

Bankman-Fried's lawyers have not sought to delay the trial. Kaplan said last week that he would consider such a request.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)