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Sleuthing the S.B.F. Appeal

Sam Bankman-Fried
The saga of FTX is far from over, at least for Sam, who has come to expect a certain amount of attention and seems happy to share his views. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
May 19, 2024

On April 11, a few weeks after Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay $11 billion in restitution following his conviction on seven criminal counts in federal court—all for “one of the largest financial frauds in history,” as U.S. Attorney Damian Williams put it—he filed a notice that he intends to appeal. The filing cost him $605, and his lawyer for the appeal is listed as Alexandra A.E. Shapiro of the Manhattan law firm of Shapiro Arato Bach. He likely won’t file the actual appeal until the fall and has asked to remain incarcerated at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, where I interviewed him on May 7, in the interim. There’s also the possibility that he is relocated to a prison in California, which would require a handcuffed, very languid, cross-country bus ride with other inmates, which is commonly known as “diesel therapy.” (Yuck.)

I don’t know what Sam will argue in his appeal papers, but during my visit with him in the MDC, I got the sense that Sam has become increasingly obsessed with Sullivan & Cromwell, the prestigious Wall Street law firm that represented FTX on regulatory and other matters before the company’s November 2022 bankruptcy filing and, somewhat unusually, continues to represent FTX during the bankruptcy process as well.