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Since Sam Bankman-Fried was convicted of fraud final 12 months, he has employed a brand new lawyer recognized for courtroom showmanship. A gaggle of sympathetic legislation professors has pushed for a reappraisal of his actions. And his dad and mom have turned for assist to former staff of FTX, the collapsed cryptocurrency alternate he based.

From a federal detention middle in Brooklyn, Mr. Bankman-Fried, 31, has continued to battle his case behind the scenes, as he goals for a lenient sentence and prepares to enchantment his conviction. On Tuesday, his legal professionals filed a authorized memo in U.S. District Courtroom in Manhattan, arguing that he ought to obtain a jail sentence of between 5 and 1 / 4 and 6 and a half years.

Mr. Bankman-Fried is “deeply, deeply sorry” for “the ache he prompted during the last two years,” the memo stated. “His sole focus after the collapse of FTX was making clients entire.”

The submitting was a vital step earlier than Mr. Bankman-Fried’s sentencing on March 28, when the federal decide overseeing his case, Lewis A. Kaplan, will resolve how lengthy to imprison the onetime billionaire on expenses that carry a most sentence of 110 years. Nevertheless it was just one prong of a long-shot technique orchestrated by Mr. Bankman-Fried’s household and buddies to reverse his conviction and engineer a public reappraisal of his management at FTX.

Since final 12 months’s trial, Mr. Bankman-Fried has employed Marc Mukasey, who as soon as represented former President Donald J. Trump, to supervise his sentencing, in addition to a separate lawyer on the legislation agency Shapiro Arato Bach to deal with the enchantment. His dad and mom, the Stanford College legislation professors Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried, have additionally been concerned within the protection, serving to line up individuals to put in writing letters vouching for his or her son’s character that had been included within the sentencing memo.

In an interview, Natalie Tien, a former assistant to Mr. Bankman-Fried at FTX, stated she had written a letter for the memo after exchanging emails with Mr. Bankman and Ms. Fried.

“I don’t have grudges over him, and I do really feel dangerous for his dad and mom,” Ms. Tien stated.

A spokesman for Mr. Bankman-Fried declined to remark. Representatives for Mr. Bankman and Ms. Fried didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Federal prosecutors are set to stipulate their very own sentencing suggestion in a submitting due March 15. However in keeping with Mr. Bankman-Fried’s memo, a probation officer has already really useful a 100-year sentence, a punishment his legal professionals referred to as “barbaric.”

Even when Choose Kaplan decides to not impose the utmost sentence, Mr. Bankman-Fried may face many years behind bars.

The decide “may nonetheless give a really severe sentence given how younger Mr. Bankman-Fried is — say, a 30- or 35-year sentence,” stated Miriam Baer, vice dean at Brooklyn Regulation Faculty.

A spokesman for Damian Williams, the U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of New York, declined to remark.

Earlier than FTX collapsed in November 2022, Mr. Bankman-Fried was one of the crucial outstanding figures within the renegade crypto business, a broadly celebrated billionaire whose face was splashed throughout billboards and journal covers.

In October, a federal jury convicted him of stealing $8 billion from FTX’s clients to finance political contributions, investments in different firms and lavish actual property purchases.

Mr. Bankman-Fried has maintained he’s harmless and pledged to enchantment. This month, he changed his trial legal professionals, Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, with Mr. Mukasey, who’s representing one other fallen crypto mogul in a separate case and has a fame for forceful courtroom shows.

Final 12 months, Mr. Mukasey scored a victory in his protection of Trevor Milton, the founding father of the electrical truck producer Nikola, who was convicted in 2022 of defrauding buyers. A federal decide sentenced Mr. Milton in December to 4 years in jail, far lower than the 11 years that prosecutors had requested.

Working in parallel to Mr. Mukasey is an appellate lawyer and former prosecutor, Alexandra Shapiro, who’s a associate at Shapiro Arato Bach. She is anticipated to file Mr. Bankman-Fried’s enchantment after the sentencing.

Mr. Bankman and Ms. Fried have additionally performed a task behind the scenes. Final month, Ms. Tien stated, she acquired a textual content from one among Mr. Bankman-Fried’s supporters, asking whether or not she would assist with the memo. Then she obtained a follow-up e-mail from the FTX founder’s dad and mom explaining the sentencing course of and urging her to put in writing “from the center” about their son.

They had been “type of like testing the waters,” Ms. Tien stated in an interview. “I just about simply stated ‘sure’ instantly.”

Ms. Tien was one among 29 individuals who wrote letters for the memo, together with Mr. Bankman-Fried’s dad and mom, his youthful brother and a number of other former colleagues. She referred to as him type and empathetic and stated he had “by no means acted out of greed or self-interest.”

Within the submitting, Mr. Mukasey cited the letters to color Mr. Bankman-Fried as a hard-working, altruistic billionaire who eschewed the trimmings of fame and wealth. He additionally argued that some oddities within the mogul’s conduct could possibly be defined by “neurodiversity.”

Mr. Bankman-Fried has “outward traits typical of neurodiversity, corresponding to inconsistent eye contact,” the memo stated. “He could be perceived as abrupt, dismissive, evasive, indifferent or uncaring.”

Exterior the formal courtroom course of, legislation professors who know Mr. Bankman-Fried’s dad and mom have additionally pressed his case.

In January, two shut household buddies, the Yale Regulation professor Ian Ayres and the Stanford Regulation professor John Donohue, wrote an essay for the website Project Syndicate, arguing that “all alongside” FTX had sufficient belongings to make its clients entire — a degree that Mr. Mukasey echoed within the memo.

“No matter else could be stated about Bankman-Fried, he was an excellent businessman,” Mr. Ayres and Mr. Donohue wrote.

One other legislation professor, Jonathan Lipson at Temple College, stated in an interview that he was working with David Skeel of the College of Pennsylvania legislation college on a tutorial paper criticizing Sullivan & Cromwell, the legislation agency overseeing FTX’s chapter.

In September, Mr. Lipson co-wrote a quick within the chapter case arguing for the appointment of an unbiased examiner to assessment Sullivan & Cromwell’s actions, together with its shut collaboration with federal prosecutors. He stated that he had spoken with Mr. Bankman-Fried and his mom final 12 months after one other Stanford legislation professor reached out concerning the case and supplied to place them involved.

Of their article, Mr. Lipson and Mr. Skeel argue that Sullivan & Cromwell “could have distorted the prison justice course of” by giving prosecutors wide-ranging entry to FTX’s assets and information, in keeping with an unpublished draft shared with The New York Occasions.

A Sullivan & Cromwell spokesman declined to remark. In courtroom filings, prosecutors have described the data sharing as “routine practices by firms cooperating in an investigation.”

Mr. Bankman-Fried faces lengthy odds. Felony convictions are not often overturned on enchantment.

Since final summer time, he has been housed on the Metropolitan Detention Heart in Brooklyn, the place he has spent a lot of his time engaged on the case, an individual with data of the matter stated. Mr. Bankman-Fried has additionally shared crypto market ideas with the guards, the individual stated, recommending investments within the digital coin Solana.

This month, Mr. Bankman-Fried left the detention middle for his first public courtroom look because the trial, a listening to to authorize his new authorized illustration. In a Manhattan courtroom, he appeared clean-shaven and wore a loosefitting brown jail uniform. At instances, he rotated and smiled on the reporters sitting within the gallery.

J. Edward Moreno contributed reporting.

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