Sam Bankman-Fried Ditches Trial Lawyers, Raises Conflict Concerns with New Legal Team

Sentiment: Neutral

In a surprising turn of events, Sam Bankman-Fried, the embattled founder of FTX, has made a strategic legal move ahead of his impending sentencing for defrauding billions from FTX customers. Departing from his trial attorneys, Bankman-Fried has enlisted the services of Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor with a notable history, including his representation of Alex Mashinsky, the founder of bankrupt crypto lender Celsius. However, this legal maneuver has ignited concerns about potential conflicts of interest, given the intertwined history of the two companies.

Bankman-Fried's decision to part ways with his previous legal representation, Mark Cohen and Christian Everdale, comes at a critical juncture in his legal battle. Convicted on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy in November, he is now awaiting sentencing scheduled for late March. The addition of Marc Mukasey to his legal team raises eyebrows, especially considering Mukasey's concurrent representation of Alex Mashinsky, who faces charges related to securities and commodities fraud, as well as alleged manipulation of Celsius' token price.

Conflicting Interests

The crux of the issue lies in the past connections between Celsius and FTX, particularly their partnerships with each other and Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried's trading firm. During a hearing presided over by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, concerns were voiced regarding potential conflicts arising from shared information and interests between the two high-profile cases. The judge's scrutiny over this matter highlights the complexity of navigating the legal landscape in the crypto industry.

Marc Mukasey's background adds an additional layer of intrigue to the unfolding legal drama. A former member of President Trump's legal team, Mukasey's involvement in high-profile cases has positioned him as a sought-after legal mind. However, the question of potential conflicts of interest looms large, with Judge Kaplan expected to make a crucial decision soon regarding the validity of Mukasey representing both Bankman-Fried and Mashinsky.

While Mashinsky has expressed no objection to shared legal representation, the legal ramifications remain uncertain. The judge's impending decision on the matter will likely shape the trajectory of both cases, as the crypto community keenly observes the unfolding legal drama.


As the crypto industry grapples with ongoing developments, from Ethereum's supply outlook to Y Combinator's interest in stablecoin finance, the legal turmoil surrounding Sam Bankman-Fried and Alex Mashinsky adds a gripping layer to the narrative. The outcome of Judge Kaplan's decision will undoubtedly reverberate through the crypto space, shaping the future legal landscape for key industry players.

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Crypto Enthusiast for over 6 years now. Working full time in DeFi since 2021.

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