The U.S. Department of Justice has decided to drop one of the charges against Sam Bankman-Fried relating to political donations, citing “treaty obligations” with The Bahamas.
The DOJ informed Judge Lewis A. Kaplan via a letter dated July 26 that it does not intend to proceed with the trial on the “unlawful campaign contributions” count.
Campaign finance laws are connected to political donations, and charges can be brought against individuals or entities involved in the political process, including candidates, political committees, donors, or other organizations.
The DOJ, representing the United States government, charged Bankman-Fried on 12 criminal counts, which included an allegation of violating campaign finance laws.
During a court hearing on Wednesday, the DOJ stated that they were awaiting clarification from The Bahamas government on whether the particular charge was included in Bankman-Fried’s extradition documents from when he was arrested in December 2022.
“The Bahamas did not intend to extradite the defendant on the campaign contributions count,” the DOJ wrote in a letter to the court late Wednesday.
Bankman-Fried had donated up to $46.5 million to the Democratic party, making him the second-highest donor after George Soros.
Reportedly, some recipients returned their donations following FTX’s collapse last year.
Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions review on Friday
On Wednesday, the Federal prosecutor arguing against Bankman-Fried, Danielle Sassoon, also demanded his detention for witness tampering.
He allegedly leaked the personal journal of Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of FTX’s sister trading firm Alameda Research and his ex-girlfriend, to the media.
Judge Kaplan declined to rule on that motion during Wednesday’s hearing but is reviewing Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions. On Friday, both the DOJ and Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers are expected to file written submissions arguing his detention during the time of the trial.
Meanwhile, Kaplan imposed an interim gag order preventing Bankman-Fried from communicating publicly.