Economy

Sam Bankman-Fried Makes His Last Stand

Since Sam Bankman-Fried was convicted of fraud last year, he has hired a new lawyer known for courtroom showmanship. A group of sympathetic law professors has pushed for a reappraisal of his actions. And his parents have turned for help to former employees of FTX, the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange he founded.

From a federal detention center in Brooklyn, Mr. Bankman-Fried, 31, has continued to fight his case behind the scenes, as he argues for a lenient sentence and prepares to appeal his conviction. On Tuesday, his lawyers are scheduled to file a legal memo in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, making the case that he doesn’t deserve to go to prison for the rest of his life.

The filing is a crucial step before Mr. Bankman-Fried’s sentencing on March 28, when the federal judge overseeing his case, Lewis A. Kaplan, will decide how long to imprison the onetime billionaire on charges that carry a maximum sentence of 110 years. But it’s only one prong of a long-shot strategy orchestrated by Mr. Bankman-Fried’s family and friends to reverse his conviction and engineer a public reappraisal of his leadership at FTX.

Since last year’s trial, Mr. Bankman-Fried has hired Marc Mukasey, who once represented former President Donald J. Trump, to oversee his sentencing, as well as a separate lawyer at the law firm Shapiro Arato Bach to handle the appeal. His parents, the Stanford University law professors Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried, have also been involved in the defense, helping line up people to write letters for their son that will be included in the memo.

Natalie Tien, a former assistant to Mr. Bankman-Fried at FTX, said she wrote a letter for his sentencing memo after exchanging emails with Mr. Bankman and Ms. Fried.

“I don’t have grudges over him, and I do feel bad for his parents,” Ms. Tien said.

Joseph Bankman, left, and Barbara Fried arriving at the federal courthouse in Manhattan in October for their son’s trial.Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

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