SBF’s Family Write Individual Letters To Judge Asking for Lenient Sentence

Brian Yue

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| 2 min read

Family members of former FTX chief Sam Bankman-Fried have written individual letters to the federal judge who will determine his sentence, according to a February 27 filing in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Barbara Fried, Joseph Bankman, and Gabriel Bankman-Fried — SBF’s mother, father, and brother — submitted pleas for leniency.

As anticipated, all three letters downplayed the impact of FTX’s collapse on investors while requesting a lighter sentence stemming from SBF’s felony charges. These letters were included in a batch of 26 supporting SBF, all submitted to Judge Lewis Kaplan, who will preside over the sentencing hearing on March 28.

SBF’s Brother

SBF’s younger brother, Gabriel Bankman-Fried, described his older brother as someone who “did not always have an easy time relating to other people,” but held a “deeply caring” nature. He emphasized the great effort put towards philanthropic work.

“Sam has made mistakes, but his life would be wasted in prison,” Gabriel said. “He has great gifts to offer the world.”

SBF’s Father

Joseph Bankman argued against a “draconian sentence,” suggesting the possibility of “significant physical danger” for his son, who he describes as having challenges responding to social cues. Bankman maintained that his son’s priority was compensating investors before his arrest, minimizing any extravagant spending.

“He did what he thought he had to do for the good of the company,” Bankman said. “For anyone that knows Sam, the popular portrayal of him as a high-rolling, celebrity-seeking, CEO driven by greed is simply bizarre.”

SBF’s Mother

In the most extensive letter of support, Barbara Fried highlighted her son’s “desire to help others” throughout his life. She referenced SBF’s current involvement in tutoring prison inmates to support this assertion.

First photo of Sam Bankman-Fried in jail at MDC Brooklyn. (December 17, 2023)

— Tiffany Fong (@TiffanyFong_) February 20, 2024

Fried also directly appealed to Judge Kaplan, highlighting SBF’s struggles with social cues. She claimed he has been “wracked with remorse” since the FTX collapse in November 2022.

“Being consigned to prison for decades will destroy Sam as surely as would hanging him,” Fried said.

Public and Expert Opinion 

Social media reactions to the letters generally expressed disapproval.

“As an autistic advocate, SBF does not deserve to get off lightly for his crimes because of the ‘autism defense,” user @LucasGates92 commented. “Purely a ‘get out of jail free card’. He knew what he did was fraud, and he should go to prison for the rest of his days. Moron.”

Several experts have proposed a potential sentence ranging from 15 to 25 years for Bankman-Fried, who was convicted by a jury on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, commodities fraud, and money laundering in November 2023.

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