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Sam Bankman-Fried locked up in ‘reprehensible’ Brooklyn jail

Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried will spend the months before his October fraud trial locked up in a Brooklyn jail that has been called out over “reprehensible” conditions for inmates who have included former Jeffrey Epstein gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered Bankman-Fried to be locked up in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) last Friday for allegedly leaking the personal writings of his former lover and business associate Caroline Ellison to a New York Times reporter.

Metropolitan Detention Center has faced intense scrutiny in recent years as it contended with severe staffing shortages and dismal conditions such as maggot-infested food, filthy cells and power outages.

In 2019, inmates endured freezing temperatures after an electrical fire caused the facility’s heat and lighting to fail.

Former inmates include Maxwell — whose legal team once described the facility as “reprehensible and utterly inappropriate” — as well as exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, who has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

Bankman-Fried will remain at MDC Brooklyn until his trial.
Paul Martinka

Maxwell’s lawyers said raw sewage had leaked into her cell and compared conditions in 2021 filings to those experienced by the imprisoned fictional character Hannibal Lecter in the 1991 movie “The Silence of the Lambs” “despite the absence of the cage and plastic face guard.”

Guo’s legal team described MDC as “an extraordinarily dangerous environment.”

Earlier this year, an attorney alleged that staff at the Brooklyn jail had “covered up” a knife attack on his client, a convicted carjacker.

MDC Brooklyn
MDC Brooklyn has faced harsh criticism over its conditions.
Stephen Yang

Prosecutors argued that Bankman-Fried had essentially committed witness tampering by sharing the writings ahead of a trial in which Ellison — who has already pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to her work at FTX-linked crypto hedge fund Alameda Research — is expected to be a key witness.

Bankman-Fried’s defense attorney Mark Cohen immediately signaled plans to appeal the judge’s decision. Kaplan rejected Cohen’s request for a pause on the incarceration order until the appeal could be decided.

The defense team argued Bankman-Fried was entitled to speak to the press and accused prosecutors of pressing for his imprisonment based on “innuendo, speculation, and scant facts.”

Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried faces various fraud charges.
Brigitte Stelzer

Kaplan acknowledged the defense’s concerns about MDC, stating that the jail “is not on anybody’s list of five-star facilities.” Bankman-Fried’s lawyers had asked for him to be placed in a minimum-security jail located in Putnam County, New York.

The federal judge’s decision to revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail marked the latest turn in the roller-coaster ride for the one-time billionaire.

The ex-crypto kingpin was originally arrested in the Bahamas late last year and locked up in a local jail that was riddled with rats and maggots and known for “harsh” conditions such as “overcrowding, poor nutrition, inadequate sanitation, and inadequate medical care,” according to the US State Department.

Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty.

A warden at the Bajamas jail, known as Fox Hill prison, once said it was “not fit for humanity.”

From there, Bankman-Fried was transferred to US custody and eventually released on a record $250 million bond.

He was held under house arrest at his parents’ mansion in Palo Alto, California, until last week.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to an array of fraud charges related to FTX’s downfall.

Sam Bankman-Fried
A judge jailed Sam Bankman-Fried for leaking his ex-lover Caroline Ellison’s letters to the media.

The feds say he bilked FTX customers out of billions of dollars — money he purportedly used to fund a lavish lifestyle that included luxury real estate purchases in the Bahamas.

His trial is set to begin on Oct. 2.

With Post wires

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