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Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyer said Tuesday that a suggested 100-year prison sentence for the FTX founder by an arm of the court is “grotesque” and “barbaric” and at most a term of a few years behind bars is appropriate for cryptocurrency crimes that the California man still disputes.

In presentence arguments filed just minutes before a late Tuesday deadline in Manhattan federal court, attorney Marc Mukasey said a report by Probation officers improperly calculated federal sentencing guidelines to recommend a sentence just 10 years short of the maximum potential 110-year sentence.

A spokesperson for prosecutors, who will respond in court papers in mid-March, declined comment. Mukasey noted, however, that prosecutors have agreed with the 100-year recommendation and say it was supported by trial evidence.

On March 28, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan will sentence the man prosecutors say cheated investors and customers of at least $10 billion in businesses he controlled from 2017 through 2022.

His FTX trading platform was perceived by some in the cryptocurrency industry as a pioneer before it collapsed into bankruptcy in November 2022, weeks before he was brought to the United States from the Bahamas for trial.

At a November trial, the man known for his casual clothing and wild hair was convicted of fraud and conspiracy charges by a jury that wasn’t swayed by Bankman-Fried’s testimony.

Mukasey wrote Tuesday that the Probation office miscalculated federal sentencing guidelines to justify its recommendation. A proper sentence, Mukasey said, would be based on guidelines that would call for between five years and 6 1/2 years in prison, at most.

When Bankman-Fried’s charitable works and his commitment to others are considered, an appropriate sentence would return him “promptly to a productive role in society,” the lawyer said. Mukasey signed the 90-page document that was also worked on by four other lawyers.

Mukasey said that the Probation office “recommends that the Court sentence Sam to 100 years in prison. That recommendation is grotesque.” He called on the judge to reject the “barbaric proposal” for a “brilliant, complex and humane person” who doesn’t use drugs, rarely drinks and is a first-time offender.

“Sam is not the ‘evil genius’ depicted in the media or the greedy villain described at trial,” Mukasey wrote. “Sam is a 31-year-old, first-time, non-violent offender, who was joined in the conduct at issue by at least four other culpable individuals, in a matter where victims are poised to recover — were always poised to recover — a hundred cents on the dollar.”

FTX was once the world’s second-largest crypto exchange and Bankman-Fried seemed to be flying high with the purchase of Super Bowl advertising and endorsement from celebrities including comedian Larry David and NFL superstar quarterback Tom Brady.

After his arrest, though, Bankman-Fried’s communications were found by the judge to be attempts to influence trial witnesses and he was jailed before trial.


The Supreme Court cast doubt Monday on state laws that could affect how Facebook, TikTok, X, YouTube and other social media platforms regulate content posted by their users. The cases are among several this term in which the justices could set standards for free speech in the digital age.

In nearly four hours of arguments, several justices questioned aspects of laws adopted by Republican-dominated legislatures and signed by Republican governors in Florida and Texas in 2021. But they seemed wary of a broad ruling, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett warning of “land mines” she and her colleagues need to avoid in resolving the two cases.

While the details vary, both laws aimed to address conservative complaints that the social media companies were liberal-leaning and censored users based on their viewpoints, especially on the political right.

Differences on the court emerged over how to think about the platforms — as akin to newspapers that have broad free-speech protections, or telephone companies, known as common carriers, that are susceptible to broader regulation.

Chief Justice John Roberts suggested he was in the former camp, saying early in the session, “And I wonder, since we’re talking about the First Amendment, whether our first concern should be with the state regulating what we have called the modern public square?”

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas appeared most ready to embrace arguments made by lawyers for the states. Thomas raised the idea that the companies are seeking constitutional protection for “censoring other speech.”

Alito complained about the term “content moderation” that the sites employ to keep material off their platforms.

“Is it anything more than a euphemism for censorship?” he asked, later musing that term struck him as Orwellian. But Justice Brett Kavanaugh, seemingly more favorable to the companies, took issue with calling the actions of private companies censorship, a term he said should be reserved for restrictions imposed by the government.

“When I think of Orwellian, I think of the state, not the private sector, not private individuals,” Kavanaugh said.

The precise contours of rulings in the two cases were not clear after arguments, although it seemed likely the court would not let the laws take effect. The justices posed questions about how the laws might affect businesses that are not their primary targets, including e-commerce sites like Uber and Etsy and email and messaging services.


The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to decide whether former President Donald Trump can be prosecuted on charges he interfered with the 2020 election, calling into question whether his case could go to trial before the November election.

While the court set a course for a quick resolution, it maintained a hold on preparations for a trial focused on Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss. The court will hear arguments in late April, with a decision likely no later than the end of June.

That timetable is much faster than usual, but assuming the justices deny Trump’s immunity bid, it’s not clear whether a trial can be scheduled and concluded before the November election. Early voting in some states will begin in September.

The court’s decision to intervene in a second major Trump case this term, along with the dispute over whether he is barred from being president again because of his actions following the 2020 election, underscores the direct role the justices will have in the outcome of the election.

Trump’s lawyers have sought to put off a trial until after the election.

In the end, the timing of a possible trial could come down to how quickly the justices rule. They have shown they can act fast, issuing a decision in the Watergate tapes case in 1974 just 16 days after hearing arguments. The decision in Bush v. Gore came the day after arguments in December 2000.

By taking up the legally untested question now, the justices have created a scenario of uncertainty that special counsel Jack Smith had sought to avoid when he first asked the high court in December to immediately intervene. In his latest court filing, Smith had suggested arguments a full month earlier than the late April timeframe.

Trump wrote on Truth Social that legal scholars “are extremely thankful” the court stepped in to decide on immunity. “Presidents will always be concerned, and even paralyzed, by the prospect of wrongful prosecution and retaliation after they leave office,” he wrote.

The trial date, already postponed once by Trump’s immunity appeal, is of paramount importance to both sides. Prosecutors are looking to bring Trump to trial this year while defense lawyers have been seeking delays in his criminal cases. If Trump were to be elected with the case pending, he could presumably use his authority as head of the executive branch to order the Justice Department to dismiss it or could potentially seek to pardon himself.


Prince Harry ‘s fight for publicly funded protection was rejected Wednesday by a London judge who said the U.K. government didn’t act irrationally when it stripped him of security privileges after he quit working as a member of the royal family and moved to the United States. Harry plans to appeal the decision.

High Court Judge Peter Lane said the February 2020 decision to provide “bespoke” security to the Duke of Sussex on an as-needed basis wasn’t unlawful, irrational or unjustified.

“Insofar as the case-by-case approach may otherwise have caused difficulties, they have not been shown to be such as to overcome the high hurdle so as to render the decision-making irrational,” Lane wrote in the 51-page ruling that was censored throughout to protect identities and security arrangements for Harry and other public figures.

Harry said he planned to appeal the ruling and keep challenging the decision made by the group known by the acronym of its former name, the Royal and VIP Executive Committee, or RAVEC, a spokesperson said.

“The duke is not asking for preferential treatment, but for a fair and lawful application of RAVEC’s own rules, ensuring that he receives the same consideration as others in accordance with RAVEC’s own written policy,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Harry claimed in the lawsuit that he and his family were endangered when visiting the U.K. because of hostility toward him and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, on social media and relentless hounding by news media.

His lawyer argued that RAVEC, which is made up of members of the royal family staff, the Metropolitan Police and several government offices, acted irrationally and failed to follow its own policies that should have required a risk analysis of the duke’s safety.

A government lawyer said Harry had been treated fairly and was still provided protection on some visits, citing a security detail that guarded him in June 2021 when he was chased by photographers after attending an event with seriously ill children at Kew Gardens in west London.


The suspect in the killing of a nursing student on the University of Georgia campus used an object as a weapon in the crime and is accused of “disfiguring her skull,” according to newly filed arrest affidavits.

Jose Ibarra, who faces multiple murder and assault charges, is also accused of dragging 22-year-old Laken Riley to a secluded area Thursday, according to one of the affidavits obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. The allegation that he dragged Riley’s body was filed to support the charge of concealing the death of another person.

Authorities have not said exactly how Riley was killed, only that her death was caused by blunt force trauma. Further details about the type of object used, or exactly how she was killed, are not included in the affidavits for arrest. The affidavits filed in Athens-Clarke County Superior Court state that the crimes were committed between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thursday.

District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, who oversees prosecutions in Athens-Clarke, said Monday that she’s bringing in a special prosecutor to handle the charges against Jose Ibarra. Gonzalez, who’s up for reelection this year, has been under fire as an ineffective prosecutor, losing several cases and seeing a number of assistant district attorneys depart her office.

Gonzalez said she will appoint Sheila Ross, who now works for the Prosecuting Attorneys Council, a state agency that trains and supports prosecutors, to oversee the case.

Ibarra, 26, is a Venezuelan citizen who immigration authorities say unlawfully crossed into the United States in 2022. It’s unclear whether he has applied for asylum. Riley was a nursing student at Augusta University’s Athens campus, after starting her college career at the much larger Athens campus of the University of Georgia. She was found dead Thursday after a roommate reported she didn’t return from a morning run in a wooded area of the University of Georgia campus near its intramural fields.

Republican lawmakers in Georgia are also considering laws intended to crack down on immigration after Riley’s death. The House Governmental Affairs Committee on Monday advanced House Bill 1359 to the full House for more debate. Sponsored by Athens Republican Houston Gaines, the bill would let people seek to have their property taxes refunded if cities or counties refused to communicate with immigration authorities or if sheriffs refuse to check a suspected immigrant’s legal status.


Testimony at trial Monday turned emotional and argumentative as an eyewitness recounted the fatal 2021 shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin during a movie rehearsal and described gun misfires, crew members walking out and a “ludicrous” pace of work.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was the armorer for the upcoming Western movie “Rust,” is fighting charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence at a trial that entered its third day of testimony Monday. A trial date was set for Baldwin in July on a single charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. He has pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorneys highlighted Gutierrez-Reed’s unusual disadvantage and vulnerability at the time as a part-time, 24-year-old armorer without trade-union membership on a set where few dared confront Baldwin directly about concerns about safety and related budgeting.

Monday’s testimony veered into the actor’s handling of the revolver that killed Hutchins — including a video of Baldwin twice practicing a cross-draw maneuver for a camera on Oct. 21, 2021, shortly before the fatal shooting that day. Investigators found no video of the shooting.

The video of Baldwin was accompanied by searing testimony from Ross Addiego, a front-line “Rust” crew member who helped guide the film’s camera. Addiego said that in the moments after a shot rang out on set, he made eye contact with a wounded Hutchins and tried to calm wounded director Joel Souza.

“The first person I made eye contact with was Halyna, who was clearly injured. In fact, she was starting to go flush and I think holding her right side,” said Addiego, breaking into tears. “I think I yelled out, ‘If you can’t help, get ... out of here, and someone call 911.’”

Prosecutors guided Addiego through testimony in which he described his anger and frustration with safety procedures on set, including the sight of a storage cart for guns and ammunition that frequently appeared to be unattended and Gutierrez-Reed’s work as an armorer in charge of loading guns with blank and dummy rounds. Investigators found six live rounds on the set of “Rust,” including the one that killed Hutchins.

Addiego noted two gun misfires on set — confirmed as blank rounds without projectiles by workplace safety regulators — and just one safety meeting over the course about two work weeks, when daily meetings are the norm.

He said prior to the fatal shooting he lodged safety complaints with union representatives and the film’s top safety official, assistant director David Halls, who pleaded no contest last year to a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon and may be called on to testify.


Donald Trump has appealed his $454 million New York civil fraud judgment, challenging a judge’s finding that Trump lied about his wealth as he grew the real estate empire that launched him to stardom and the presidency.

The former president’s lawyers filed notices of appeal Monday asking the state’s mid-level appeals court to overturn Judge Arthur Engoron’s Feb. 16 verdict in Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit and reverse staggering penalties that threaten to wipe out Trump’s cash reserves.

Trump’s lawyers wrote in court papers that they’re asking the appeals court to decide whether Engoron “committed errors of law and/or fact” and whether he abused his discretion or “acted in excess” of his jurisdiction.

Trump’s appeal paperwork did not address whether Trump was seeking to pause collection of the judgment while he appeals by putting up money, assets or an appeal bond covering the amount owed to qualify for an automatic stay.

Messages seeking comment were left with Trump’s lawyers and the New York attorney general’s office. Engoron found that Trump, his company and top executives, including his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., schemed for years to deceive banks and insurers by inflating his wealth on financial statements used to secure loans and make deals. Among other penalties, the judge put strict limitations on the ability of Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, to do business.

The appeal ensures that the legal fight over Trump’s business practices will persist into the thick of the presidential primary season, and likely beyond, as he tries to clinch the Republican presidential nomination in his quest to retake the White House.

If upheld, Engoron’s ruling will force Trump to give up a sizable chunk of his fortune. Engoron ordered Trump to pay $355 million in penalties, but with interest the total has grown to nearly $454 million. That total will increase by nearly $112,000 per day until he pays.

Trump maintains that he is worth several billion dollars and testified last year that he had about $400 million in cash, in addition to properties and other investments. James, a Democrat, told ABC News that if Trump is unable to pay, she will seek to seize some of his assets.

Trump’s appeal was expected. Trump had vowed to appeal and his lawyers had been laying the groundwork for months by objecting frequently to Engoron’s handling of the trial.

Trump said Engoron’s decision, the costliest consequence of his recent legal troubles, was “election interference” and “weaponization against a political opponent.”

Trump complained he was being punished for “having built a perfect company, great cash, great buildings, great everything.” Trump’s lawyer Christopher Kise said after the verdict that the former president was confident the appeals court “will ultimately correct the innumerable and catastrophic errors made by a trial court untethered to the law or to reality.”

“Given the grave stakes, we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients,” Trump lawyer Alina Habba said.

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