Federal Judge Ronnie Abrams, who was assigned to oversee the high-profile criminal trial of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), declined the case on December 23. ordera federal judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York cited a potential conflict of interest as the reason for his resignation.
The judge said the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, where her husband is a partner, provided legal advice to the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX in 2021. Judges represented parties to which Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP “may be adverse to FTX and Defendant Bankman-Fried in other litigation (or potential litigation).”
The court order stated that Abrams’ husband, Greg D. Andres, was “not involved” in any representations by FTX or any of its related parties. The details of the deal between FTX and her Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP are confidential and thus unknown to Abrams, but she has made her own decision “to avoid possible conflicts or the like.” avoided himself.
It is unclear when a new judge for the Southern District of New York will be selected for the SBF trial. Judges are usually randomly assigned and are excluded only when there is a potential conflict of interest.
Some have questioned why Abrams waited so long to deny himself. was appointed to
Note, however, that judges typically discuss conflicts of interest issues with their district’s presiding judge and ethics committee and review precedent before making such decisions.
Abrams’ dismissal came a day after another judge, Gabriel Gollenstein, approved SBF’s release on $250 million bail. , the huge bail amount sparked controversy.
Instead, bail was secured by the SBF parents who built the family home. reportedly It is worth $4 million as collateral. Bail is due to the court only if SBF fails to attend the court hearing.
Further, some question whether bail was justified given the leniency of approving bail and the scale of the fraud allegations against SBF. , some ridicule that the US legal system was more lenient.