Crypto lawyer John E. Deaton opined that Sam Bankman-Fried is most likely to spend multiple decades in prison after a 12-person jury unanimously found FTX’s founder guilty on all seven counts.
Deaton’s view is that Bankman-Fried sealed his fate by depending on his testimony and on the chances of a hung trial. A hung trial occurs when one or more jury member finds the defendant innocent therefore prolonging deliberation and a trial.
“I will come back and eat my words if he gets lower than 10 years but I think conservatively, he gets at least 30-40 years,” said the crypto lawyer on X Spaces. Deaton posited that Bankman-Fried chose the path with the lengthiest possible sentence.
FTX’s former boss had three options per Deaton’s analysis: Plead guilty and bank on the court’s mercy, deny the allegations and fight for a hung trial by convincing one juror of his innocence, or cooperate with the Justice Department on political donations and campaign finance charges for a lighter sentence.
Notably, prosecutors momentarily ditched campaign finance charges due to pressure from the Bahamas government. During witness testimony in United States v Sam Bankman-Fried, evidence pointed to expensive incentives directed to Bahamian government officials apparently funded with FTX customer cash and crypto.
As such, followers of the case have surmised that campaign finance violation allegations could resurface as a full-blown trial following Bankman-Fried’s sentencing which is expected in March 2024.
When asked about the prospects of this happening following Nov. 3’s verdict, Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, declined to respond.
Deaton’s opinion echoed assertions from Lesperance & Associates managing director David Lesperance who told crypto.news that Bankman-Fried faces around 20 years behind bars. Whatever the case, all eyes are on the court sentencing due from District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan within 90 days of the verdict.
There are also questions about whether Bankman-Fried’s prison sentence would run concurrently or consecutively.