A new judge has been assigned in the blockbuster case of Sam Bankman-Fried’s fraudulent activity surrounding crypto exchange FTX and his other company Alameda Research. Following US District Judge Ronnie Abrams’s decision to recuse herself from the case, as her husband is a partner at a law firm that advised FTX in 2021, the new district judge appointed to preside over the case is Lewis Kaplan who, interestingly, oversaw the first bitcoin securities fraud prosecution in the country. 

The appointment is an important development in the case, as Judge Kaplan is known as a “no-nonsense” judge that makes quite quick decisions, and has also already overseen a number of very high-profile cases in his career, inducing a 2014 lawsuit in which he decided in favor of oil-giant Chevron, last year’s sexual assault lawsuit against Prince Andrew that was eventually settled, and is currently also overseeing a lawsuit brought forth by Elle magazine’s E. Jean Carroll of defamation against former President Donald Trump for denying the sexual assault allegations she made against him.

Bankman-Fried is facing eight charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and is currently in detention in his parents’ California home. He has not yet entered a plea, and it is difficult to envisage a scenario where the former FTX head does not receive a hefty jail sentence, especially following the appointment of Judge Kaplan.