Sam Bankman-Fried Gets To Keep Bail Co-Signers Secret

The legal team for Sam Bankman-Fried successfully argued Tuesday that the names of two signatories to the disgraced FTX founder’s $250 million bail bond should be kept private.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys argued in a six-page filing to federal judge Lewis Kaplan Tuesday morning that the bond’s other signatories—the former billionaire’s parents—have already faced threats and harassment since entering the public eye following their son’s dramatic fall from grace and subsequent arrest in December.

“Among other things, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s parents have received a steady stream of threatening correspondence, including communications expressing a desire that they suffer physical harm,” Bankman-Fried’s attorneys wrote. “Consequently, there is serious cause for concern that the two additional sureties would face similar intrusions on their privacy as well as threats and harassment if their names appear unredacted.”

Ghislaine Maxwell, a convicted sex trafficker and former associate of Jeffrey Epstein, is one of the cases listed in brief, filed by Bankman-Fried’s attorney Mark S. Cohen. In that case, Cohen also represented Maxwell.

Judge Kaplan approved the request without prejudice in court on Tuesday. Federal prosecutors did not challenge the ruling. 

“This is not surprising,” Tom Gorman, a white-collar criminal attorney, said. “This case has received a lot of attention. Many people dislike it and attempt to avoid being in the spotlight.”

Bankman-Fried was freed from federal jail in Manhattan just before Christmas on a remarkable $250 million bail. The former FTX CEO, who had been detained a week before on eight accusations, including conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering, and violating federal campaign finance rules, was returned to his parents’ Palo Alto home without paying a dollar. 

Instead, Bankman-Fried’s parents and two other non-relative signatories were asked to sign a recognizance bond, which holds those people liable for the full amount of the bond if Bankman-Fried fails to appear in court.

Due to privacy and safety concerns, the former billionaire’s attorneys said Tuesday that in prior high-profile cases, judges have chosen to redact evidence linked to the identities of bond co-signers.

Typically, the identities of bond signings are made public as part of a case’s public record. While Bankman-Fried’s case has garnered more public attention than typical trials, it has also exposed its participants to greater scrutiny.

Bankman-Fried also pled not guilty to all allegations in court on Tuesday.