Sam Bankman-Fried Hires Ghislaine Maxwell's Defense Attorney: Reuters
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Sam Bankman-Fried Hires Ghislaine Maxwell's Defense Attorney: Reuters

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The former CEO of the bankrupt FTX crypto exchange may be giving up the "I'm an idiot, not a crook" defense he's been pushing with little success in several recent interviews.

Sam Bankman-Fried Hires Ghislaine Maxwell's Defense Attorney: Reuters

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Sam Bankman-Fried has hired the prominent New York defense attorney who defended Jeffrey Epstein confidant and convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, according to Reuters.

Citing a spokesperson for the former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and trading firm Alameda Research, the news service reported that Bankman-Fried has hired Mark S. Cohen, a civil and criminal defense attorney at Cohen & Gresser.

A former federal prosecutor, Cohen specializes in white-collar crime and civil litigation including securities litigation, as well as federal and state regulatory proceedings.

He also defended Ghislaine Maxwell, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of trafficking underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein.

Meanwhile, Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda, has reportedly hired a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Reuters said, citing confidential sources.

Cohen may well have his work cut out for him with Bankman-Fried who, despite having a father who teaches at Stanford Law School, has by his own admission ignored his lawyers' advice in agreeing to high-profile interviews with outlets including The New York Times, Good Morning America and Wall Street Journal.

In one interview, he said he told his lawyers to "go f*** themselves" after being told to "never, ever, ever say you f***** up again.

Whether he'll listen to Cohen remains to be seen, but it's quite possible that it will mark the end of Bankman-Fried's self-indulgent and increasingly far-fetched claims that while he screwed up massively, he did nothing illegal.

Those are claims that are being met with an increasing level of anger in the crypto community.

On the exchange side, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said:

"It's stolen customer money used in his hedge fund, plain and simple" as well as "it's baffling to me why he's not in custody already."

Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz said:

"He stole money from people, people should go to jail."

And Blockchain Association head of policy Jake Chervinsky said:

"FTX didn't 'collapse.' It was revealed for what it was: a criminal enterprise in the business of stealing money."
Then, of course, there's Bankman-Fried's recent claim that he has $100,000 left to his name — which, if he can keep paying top lawyers, will start to seem questionable for a whole new set of reasons.
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