Sam Bankman-Fried has a new defense lawyer, and it’s the man who previously represented Ghislaine Maxwell, the recently convicted sex trafficker associated with Jeffrey Epstein, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Apparently gearing up for a number of legal battles, Bankman-Fried on Tuesday tapped Mark Cohen, a New York-based attorney known for his key role in Maxwell’s legal defense team. The former federal prosecutor-turned defense attorney is now a managing partner at Cohen & Gresser, which he co-founded in 2002.
Bankman-Fried’s legal woes appear to be looming ever larger as US federal authorities and regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission launch probes into the collapse of his once multibillion-dollar exchange and empire.
However, it is unclear how he plans to pay the legal fees associated with a high-profile lawyer like Cohen – something he admitted in a Twitter Spaces room on Tuesday, reported by Bloomberg.
“I don’t necessarily have a long-term plan there yet,” Bankman-Fried was quoted as saying.
Bankman-Fried was once worth $26 billion at his peak. The former billionaire saw his net worth crash from $16 billion to under $1 million in a single day after news of FTX’s insolvency came to light. He recently revealed that he is left with $100,000 worth of funds in a credit card linked to a bank account.
The former FTX CEO is also not in the habit of following advice from legal counsel. He made a series of media appearances and statements to the public over the last few weeks, pointedly ignoring his own lawyers’ calls to be silent. Bankman-Fried said he told his lawyers to “go f**k themselves” when they asked him to refrain from admitting his mistakes to the public.
On Nov. 18, Bankman-Fried’s former legal counsel Paul Weiss announced that it was dropping him as a client. The firm cited conflicts of interest that precluded them from representing him after FTX filed for bankruptcy.