$250M Bail: Judge Mulls Secrecy for Bankman-Fried’s Bond Guarantors

• Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, requested that the judge in his criminal trial maintain the identities of the two people who will assist in securing his bail a secret to shield them from public attention.
• Bankman- Fried’s lawyers sent a letter asking the identities of the two people planning to serve as sureties for his $250 million bail package be redacted, arguing that there is no necessity for public exposure.
• In December, a judge issued one of the enormous bail amounts in US history to Bankman-Fried: $250 million.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is facing a criminal trial, and he has requested that the judge in his case maintain the identities of the two people who will assist in securing his bail a secret. His lawyers sent a letter asking for the identities of the two people planning to serve as sureties for his $250 million bail package to be redacted, arguing that there is no necessity for public exposure.

In December, Bankman-Fried was granted one of the largest bail amounts in US history, a staggering $250 million. His parents’ Palo Alto, California, home was used as collateral for the personal recognizance bond, though it’s unlikely to be worth anywhere close to that amount. Oversized bonds are often secured by assets worth around 10% of the declared amount, which serves as a technique of generating severe financial penalties should the defendant fail to appear in court.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that if the two remaining sureties were made public, they would likely be subjected to intense media scrutiny and even harassment, despite having no real connection to the case. Therefore, the privacy and security of the sureties are “countervailing elements” that vastly outweigh the assumption that the public should have access to the insignificant amount of material at issue.

In light of this, the judge is currently considering whether or not to grant Bankman-Fried’s request and keep his bond guarantors’ identities private. If the judge agrees with Bankman-Fried’s lawyers, it would be an uncommon example of a court granting a request for anonymity in the context of a criminal case. Furthermore, it would be a strong reminder of the importance of protecting the privacy and security of individuals who are not directly involved in a criminal case.