He's staring down the barrel.
Disgraced crypto scion Sam Bankman-Fried's fraud trial is about to start heating up — and the judge has a stark warning for the FTX founder.
As the Reuters reports, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan told SBF ahead of his trial, which begins Monday, that he's facing major time.
Given that the statutory maximum if convicted of all seven counts of fraud would be more than 100 years, the jurist was clearly not joking, though as Reuters points out, he's fairly unlikely to actually get handed quite that long a sentence.
Like a Bird
Kaplan, who remanded Bankman-Fried to jail for alleged witness tampering after the 31-year-old leaked his ex-girlfriend and business partner Caroline Ellison's diary entries to the New York Times, appeared to suggest that given the severity of his potential sentencing, the crypto pariah may be a flight risk.
"Your client in the event of conviction could be looking at a very long sentence," the judge said. "If things begin to look bleak... maybe the time would come when he would seek to flee."
SBF's lawyer Mark Cohen, who sought to get his client a temporary release during the trial so that his legal team could coordinate their strategy, rebutted that there was no reason to believe he would run away from justice considering that the onetime crypto king presented himself for extradition from the Bahamas to the US back in December of last year.
Kaplan appears to have met Bankman-Fried's legal team in the middle, allowing him to come to the courthouse hours before each day's proceedings begin.
As of now, on the precipice of the trial that's set to start Monday, it's impossible to say which way the jury will go — but something tells us that the judge isn't going to be lenient.
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