Bankman-Fried heads to Brooklyn jail notorious for poor conditions

Sam Bankman-Fried will prepare for his fraud trial from a Brooklyn jail where inmates ranging from convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell to Honduras’s former president have complained of subpar conditions.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan ruled on Friday that Bankman-Fried, the founder of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Epstein killed himself in his MCC cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers had urged Kaplan not to jail the 31-year-old former billionaire, in part because a “staffing crisis” at MDC meant there would be too few guards to escort him to a room where he could access computers to review prosecutors’ evidence against him.

Kaplan said during the hearing that while MDC “is not on anybody’s list of five-star facilities”, he was not sure whether housing Bankman-Fried at a minimum security jail in Putnam County, about 80km (50 miles) north of New York City, as prosecutors had requested, was “doable”.

In a letter on Monday, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers asked Kaplan to order MDC to provide their client with daily prescription medications for depression and attention deficit hyperactive disorder.

It is not Bankman-Fried’s first time behind bars. In the Bahamas, he was held for nearly a week at the Fox Hill Prison, which a 2021 US State Department report said was plagued by rodents and a lack of toilets. Local authorities said in December that conditions had improved.

Other high-profile inmates currently being held at MDC include Juan Orlando Hernandez, the former president of Honduras, who has pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges, and Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese businessman who has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

Hernandez’s lawyers have likened his confinement conditions to those of a “prisoner of war”. Guo’s lawyers in March called MDC “an extraordinarily dangerous environment”, citing a recent lockdown in response to an increase in contraband including weapons.

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