Dec 27, 2022
Bankman-Fried’s Fraud Case Is Reassigned After Original Judge Recused Herself
(Bloomberg) -- The fraud case against FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been reassigned to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan after the original judge in the case recused herself over a potential conflict of interest.
Kaplan, who was assigned the case on Monday, is taking over for US District Judge Ronnie Abrams, who stepped down from the case last week because her husband is a partner at New York law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell. She said the firm previously advised FTX and is currently representing parties that may be adverse to the cryptocurrency exchange in its bankruptcy proceeding.
A native of Staten Island, New York, Kaplan was a partner at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison before he was appointed to the federal bench in 1994. He has handled numerous high-profile cases during his time on the bench, including multiple proceedings tied to the 1998 terrorist bombings of two US embassies in Africa.
Kaplan is currently overseeing author E. Jean Carroll’s battery and defamation suits against former President Donald Trump. He also presided over a lawsuit by a woman who alleged she was loaned out to Prince Andrew by Jeffrey Epstein for sex. Andrew settled the case in February, roughly a month after Kaplan denied his motion to dismiss the suit.
Bankman-Fried had a bail hearing last week before a magistrate judge in Manhattan and is set to make his first appearance before Kaplan on Jan. 3. He is facing fraud and other charges over the collapse of FTX.
Abrams has already heard guilty pleas in the case by two of Bankman-Fried’s closest associates, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, who are now cooperating with prosecutors.
(Updates with background on Kaplan and Bankman-Fried case.)
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