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Sam Bankman-Fried might get early release, suggest legal experts

SBF could earn enough credit to reduce his sentence by half.

SBF sentencing

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Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), founder of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, recently received a 25-year prison sentence for crypto fraud. This sentence is far less than the 40-year minimum prosecutors sought and the 110-year maximum suggested by sentencing guidelines. Legal experts said SBF might serve even less time with good behavior.

James Murphy, a renowned crypto lawyer, outlined possible next steps in the SBF case. According to him, SBF’s team will appeal the conviction and sentence as part of its legal strategy.

Murphy’s point came after SBF’s legal team confirmed plans to file appeals against both the guilty verdict and the sentence on fraud and money laundering charges in today’s court.

Murphy also suggested that supporters of SBF, particularly those involved in Effective Altruism, might lobby the Biden administration for a pardon or commutation. He added that SBF could be released early under federal “good time credit” policies.

In the federal prison system, inmates are typically required to serve 85% of their sentence before being eligible for release. This is known as “good time credit,” designed to incentivize good behavior and reduce recidivism.

Sharing Murphy’s viewpoint, Mitchell Epner, a former federal prosecutor, told CNN that SBF’s good time credit could significantly reduce his actual time served.

“There is no possibility of parole in federal criminal cases, but Bankman-Fried can still shave time off his 25-year sentence with good behavior,” stated Epner. “SBF may serve as little as 12.5 years, if he gets all of the jailhouse credit available to him.”

Still, the appeal’s success, any potential lobbying efforts, and SBF’s actual prison time are all uncertain at this point.

FTX’s saga of lies and fraud has reached a turning point as Sam Bankman-Fried received a 25-year prison sentence for crypto fraud in Manhattan federal court on Thursday. Judge also ordered a forfeiture of $11.02 billion and recommended medium-security for SBF’s federal prison term.

SBF’s inner circle, including Gary Wang, Caroline Ellison, Nishad Singh, and Ryan Salame were previously convicted for their roles in the FTX saga. Salame, the former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, is expected to face sentence on May 1, as reported by Bloomberg.

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