For one of the first times since the conclusion of his first criminal trial, former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried will appear before a judge to address potential conflicts of interest in his legal team.
In a Feb. 7 filing in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered Bankman-Fried to appear in person on Feb. 21 for a Curcio hearing over concerns about lawyers Marc Mukasey and Torrey Young. According to the New York-based Blanch Law Firm, during a Curcio hearing, a judge may ask a defendant — in this case, SBF — questions about his legal representation and if he was informed about any potential conflict of interest.
The hearing stemmed from a letter written by U.S. prosecutors on Feb. 6 raising concerns about Mukasey and Young, who filed notices of appearance in both SBF’s and former CEO Alex Mashinsky’s cases. According to prosecutors, Celsius lent money to FTX’s sister company, Alameda Research. Mashinsky partially blamed the firm’s collapse on SBF’s actions — matters that could present a “contrary position” at trial and during either former crypto CEOs’ sentencing.
Judges in the respective courtrooms could question Bankman-Fried and Mashinsky on whether they wish to waive their rights to “conflict-free representation.” At the time of publication, no notice of a similar Curcio hearing was filed for Mashinsky’s case. The former Celsius CEO’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin in September.
Bankman-Fried, once the CEO of one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world, was arrested in the Bahamas after the collapse of FTX in November 2022, extradited to the United States, and charged with multiple felony counts related to the misuse of funds between the firm and Alameda. He was set to face 12 charges spread over two criminal trials in October 2023 and March 2024.
In the first trial, a jury convicted the former FTX CEO of seven felony counts, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for March 28. Reports have suggested SBF may not face a second trial in March, given his prior conviction.
Since his conviction, SBF has been housed at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center and largely absent from the courtroom as his lawyers continued to address motions requesting delays in proceedings. Information finside SBF’s jail is limited, but reports suggested the former CEO may have traded packets of Mackerel for services rather than cryptocurrency.