A Manhattan federal judge known for his quick decisions and no-nonsense demeanor was appointed Tuesday in the cryptocurrency Sam Bankman Fried case.
The case was referred to Judge Louis A. Kaplan after the judge originally appointed himself because her husband worked for a law firm that did work related to FTX, Bankman-Fried’s collapsed cryptocurrency exchange.
Kaplan is now presiding over a civil lawsuit that former Elle E advice writer Jean Carroll brought against Donald Trump. Carroll says Trump raped her in the dressing room of an upscale Manhattan department store in 1995 or 1996. Trump denies the accusation. The trial date is set for April.
Kaplan also presided over claims of sexual assault by an American woman against Prince Andrew before both sides were settled earlier this year, with Andrew declaring he never intended to offend the woman’s character and agreeing to donate to her charity. Prior to the settlement, Kaplan denied Andrew’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas two weeks ago and brought to the US last week to face charges that he defrauded investors and plundered customer deposits on his trading platform.
He was released on Thursday, on a $250m (£208m) personal guarantee, to live with his parents in Palo Alto, California, with an electronic monitoring bracelet attached.
Kaplan, 78, has held a senior position in Manhattan federal court for more than a decade. He was nominated to the bench by Bill Clinton in 1994.
He has oversaw high-profile trials and several high-profile cases in the financial world, including what authorities described as the first federal bitcoin securities fraud trial. Kaplan sentenced that defendant to 18 months in prison.
In 2014, it barred US courts from using it to collect a $9 billion (£7 billion) Ecuadorean ruling against Chevron for rainforest damage, saying lawyers in the case had sabotaged an honorable endeavor with illegal and wrongful conduct.
In 2012, he delayed his admission of guilt by a banker in Utah, ordering prosecutors to explain why the banker was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor bank gambling rather than a felony.
Kaplan has been known to get irritable with lawyers on all sides.
In 1997, he criticized the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (INS) for not acting quickly enough on his asylum case.
“This is as fast as a glacier going up,” he said.
Describing the agency’s conduct as “absolutely outrageous,” he added, “The INS in my three years on the bench has vindicated itself disastrously more than once, but this one takes the cake and I won’t be standing by for much longer.”
In 2000, Kaplan ruled in favor of the motion picture industry, giving it legal protection to protect DVDs from copying on computers.
“The computer code is not purely expressive any more than the assassination of a political figure is a purely political statement,” he said.
Most recently, Kaplan presided over the civil trial of Kevin Spacey after another actor accused him of trying to molest him at his apartment after a party when he was 14 and Spacey was 26. his case.
In 2019, Kaplan sentenced three men to prison after being found guilty in a college basketball scandal in which a former Adidas executive and two others paid families to persuade top recruits to play for schools sponsored by the shoemaker.
Nearly twelve years ago, Kaplan sentenced Ahmad Gilani, a former detainee at the United States Penitentiary at Guantanamo Bay, to life in prison. Kaplan presided over a trial in which Gilani was found guilty of plotting to destroy the United States embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Americans were among the 224 people killed in the attacks.
In 2015, Kaplan sentenced Adel Abdel Bary, an Egyptian lawyer, to 25 years in prison for his role in the attacks on US embassies.
In 2014, Kaplan sentenced Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, to life in prison for acting as a mouthpiece for al-Qaeda after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Kaplan also headed efforts to commute the sentences of the men convicted of the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people and injured more than 1,000.
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