Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of embattled FTX, is headed back to prison after a confusing morning hearing that prosecutors and the sitting judge both described as a waste of time. SBF was expected to appear before the judge to drop his extradition fight, after spending less than a week at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services. The hearing was reportedly chaotic and disorganized, leaving all parties involved frustrated and confused. SBF is now back in the correctional facility, awaiting his fate.
Jerone Roberts, the local lawyer for SBF, was shocked to see his client in court and argued that the hearing was premature. Roberts had expected to visit SBF today in prison and had not yet received instructions on how to proceed. Magistrate Shaka Serville understood the gravity of the situation and adjourned the court to allow SBF to communicate with his legal counsel. This allowed SBF the opportunity to receive guidance from his lawyer before continuing with the proceedings.
Franklyn Williams, the lead prosecutor, argued that the instruction for SBF to come to court had not come from US or local law enforcement. He expressed his concern that something suspicious was going on, and made it clear he did not want to be part of it. Williams further stated that he understood SBF had voluntarily appeared in court to waive his right to an extradition hearing. Clearly, the prosecutor was taking a stance against any potential wrongdoing or injustice.
In the court case involving SBF, the magistrate, Mr. Roberts, advised that SBF’s US lawyers may be more knowledgeable on the situation than the local legal team. Despite this, Mr. Serville declared that the day had been wasted and remanded SBF to prison. However, before SBF was transported away, Mr. Roberts gave him the opportunity to speak to his US lawyers over the phone. This allowed SBF to gain some clarity on the situation and ensure his rights were being respected.