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S.B.F. Is Blaming It All on the Lawyers

Sam Bankman-Fried
Federal prosecutors are determined to prevent any resurrection of the S.B.F. legend. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Eriq Gardner
September 18, 2023

For years, Sam Bankman-Fried carefully cultivated an image as a disheveled prodigy who cared more about using crypto to uplift the poor than enriching himself. Of course, as it turned out, S.B.F. wasn’t just playing video games, giving away his money, and driving a Toyota Corolla, as has been widely reported. He was also spending millions of dollars to hang out with celebrities and fly private, living in a $40 million penthouse and lending himself billions of dollars to acquire luxury properties across the Bahamas.

Now, ahead of a six-week trial beginning Oct. 3, federal prosecutors are determined to prevent any resurrection of the S.B.F. legend. On Friday, they highlighted Bankman-Fried’s “prior efforts to use behavioral eccentricity to his advantage” and sought to limit any references to “effective altruism” during the jury selection process. They also conveyed to Judge Lewis Kaplan that allowing Bankman-Fried to improperly cast himself in a sympathetic light shouldn’t be permitted.