Longtime readers know that I have been obsessing over the campaign-finance dimension of the federal case against Sam Bankman-Fried. And I’m even worse in private: Ever since S.B.F.’s arrest, I’ve been consulting my partner Eriq Gardner, Puck’s resident legal expert, who has a far richer understanding of the pre-trial issues and defense strategy. Eriq and I chatted about the legal risk facing Gabe Bankman-Fried, the odds that Sam himself strikes a plea deal before his October trial, and whether or not the lawyers at Sullivan & Cromwell have any power when running parallel to the mighty Department of Justice.
Teddy: Eriq, thanks for doing this, and I’m glad you’re not typing this out on a flip phone, like the kind prosecutors want Sam Bankman-Fried to use à la Chuck Schumer. Let’s start with the question I get asked more than any other: Is S.B.F. legally cooked? It certainly feels that way, especially after Nishad Singh, his co-founder at FTX, pleaded guilty last week as part of a cooperation deal.
Eriq: No flip phone for me. Just a PalmPilot 1000. Actually, believe it or not, I’m not quite ready to hang Bankman-Fried just yet. Sure, it looks quite bad, but it almost always does at this stage of a prosecution. Just wait till next month when Sam’s lawyers start bringing motions to chip away at the case. That may cause some re-examination, if not outright skepticism.