Prosecutors may present evidence of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder’s political contributions to jurors in Sam Bankman Fried’s trial, which begins next week, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan initially charged Bankman Fried, 31, with conspiracy to violate U.S. campaign finance laws.
However, the charges were later dropped after the Bahamian government, where Bankman Freed was arrested in December, said it had no intention of extraditing Bankman Freed in this case.
But evidence of the former billionaire’s political contributions is “inextricably intertwined” with charges that he stole billions of dollars in deposits from FTX customers, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said in a written order Tuesday. said.
“Evidence that Defendants spent FTX customer funds on political contributions constitutes direct evidence of a wire fraud scheme as it is relevant to establishing Defendants’ motive and suspicion of fraudulent intent,” Kaplan wrote. .
Bankman Freed has pleaded not guilty.
His trial is scheduled to begin on October 3.