Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal case over the collapse of his FTX cryptocurrency exchange has been reassigned to a judge recently known for handling defamation lawsuits against former U.S. President Donald Trump and a sexual abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan replaces his colleague Ronnie Abrams, who recused herself on Friday after learning that the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, where her husband is a partner, advised FTX in 2021.
Known for his no-nonsense demeanor in the courtroom, Kaplan, a judge since 1994, oversees two civil lawsuits by former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll accusing Trump of defaming her by denying he raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room 27 years ago.
Trump has sought the dismissal of both lawsuits, including a battery claim.
Kaplan also recently oversaw Virginia Giuffre’s civil lawsuit accusing Prince Andrew of sexually abusing her when she was 17 at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, the now-convicted former associate of late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew settled that case in February.
The U.S. Department of Justice accused Bankman-Fried of causing billions of dollars of losses related to FTX, once the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, including by using customer funds to support his Alameda Research crypto trading platform.
Bankman-Fried has acknowledged risk-management failures at FTX, but said he does not believe he is criminally liable for what prosecutors called a “fraud of epic proportions.”
After being extradited to New York from the Bahamas to face the charges, the 30-year-old Bankman-Fried was released on Thursday on a $250-million bond, and required to remain under detention at his parents’ California home. He has not entered a plea.