A noted constitutional expert and defense lawyer is calling out the Brandon regime and the deep state after the crypto fraudster of the now-defunct exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, was hit with a series of criminal charges in an indictment from the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.
SBF was hit with eight counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, campaign finance donations, wire fraud, and a host of other charges.
But Georgetown University law school professor Jonathan Turley, in a column on his website, noted the ‘convenient’ timing of the charges: Bankman-Fried was scheduled to provide sworn testimony to Congress, and now that seems unlikely to happen given that anything he would say would be legal fodder for the SEC and future courts trying his fraud cases.
“As a criminal defense attorney, my reaction to the arrest last night remains unchanged: this is the first time that I can recall where prosecutors moved aggressively to stop a defendant from making self-incriminating statements. His testimony would have been entirely admissible and likely devastating at trial,” Turley noted in his column.
“I previously wrote how Bankman-Fried was doing harm to his case by speaking in the media and to Congress. So why would the Justice Department move to stop the self-inflicted damage? You have a major target who was about to voluntarily testify for hours,” he continued. “That is ordinarily a dream for prosecutors, but the Justice Department moved quickly to prevent that from happening. At that stage, Bankman-Fried was not charged or in custody. He was not protected by Miranda or other constitutional rules from self-incriminating statements.
Turley went on to say that he and other legal experts had already warned that SBF was harming himself legally by making those statements to the press and in various venues. He noted that Bankman-Fried was already facing major criminal charges after assembling a very large legal team but was nevertheless ready, willing, and able to speak to anyone who would listen that he was just a feckless dupe who didn’t know what he was doing when he blew through some $30 billion in company funds and investor contributions. “Most prosecutors would sit back, make popcorn, and watch this unfold,” Turley noted.
But now, after the Brandon regime has filed charges against Bankman-Fried, many of those same legal experts are wondering what to make of it — specifically, that it appears the regime was “eager to prevent questions on Bankman-Fried’s political contributions and associations” — while going on to point out that he was the second-highest donor to Democrats and left-wing causes during the 2022 midterm election cycle.
What’s more, Turley pointed out, Bankman-Fried’s mother is a law professor at Stanford University who is the head of a major Democratic campaign fund (because, of course).
Turley, whose analysis is always reasoned, went on to offer that maybe the Justice Department simply wanted to demonstrate to the public that it is moving quickly against SBF because of his deep donor ties to Democrats. Also, he writes, the DOJ “may have secured sufficient evidence (including possible cooperating witnesses) to satisfy the basis for charges and an extradition request.”
In addition, it is likely that SBF’s case will make several Democratic lawmakers very uncomfortable after accepting his largess.
“Yet, that still does not explain why the Justice Department would not want to hear a full account from Bankman-Fried before effectively shutting him down as a criminal defendant,” the seasoned criminal defense attorney and law professor reasoned. “This is the first time that I can recall where the prosecutors, rather than defense counsel, moved effectively to muzzle a defendant.
“Whatever the motivation, the timing of the charges effectively stopped the windfall of information coming from Bankman-Fried,” Turley noted.