Attorneys representing the co-founder of FTX have raised a unique query: Can he be granted access to long-acting medication for ADHD? The reason for this request is his struggle to maintain proper concentration during his ongoing trial.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the co-founder of FTX, has made a plea to a U.S. judge, seeking permission to use extended-release Adderall. He’s expressed difficulties in maintaining focus during the proceedings of his criminal trial.
In a letter dated October 15, addressed to Judge Lewis Kaplan of the New York District, Bankman-Fried’s legal team has asked for approval to administer a “12-hour extended-release 20mg dose of Adderall” prior to his trial on October 16.
They further elaborated that the absence of the prescribed stimulant during trial hours has substantially impeded his ability to concentrate at his usual level. With the impending defense phase and the decision on whether he will testify looming, concerns have arisen that the FTX founder may not be able to “meaningfully participate” in presenting his defense without medication.
Despite the absence of medication during trial hours, the former FTX CEO has made a valiant effort to maintain his focus throughout the trial, as indicated in the letter.
However, it’s worth noting that even if Bankman-Fried is granted access to the requested medication, there’s no certainty regarding its effectiveness, as pointed out by his legal team.
In light of these circumstances, the legal team has petitioned the court to adjourn the trial for a single day, specifically on Tuesday, October 17. This request is contingent on whether Bankman-Fried can’t access the extended-release medication or if it proves ineffective. The aim is to identify a viable solution that would sustain the trial’s progress.
Alternatively, the legal team has proposed that Judge Kaplan allow them to provide Bankman-Fried with his prescription of Adderall at the District Court during the trial.
It’s important to note that despite their earnest efforts, the legal team’s attempts to resolve this issue with the Bureau of Prisons have gone unanswered. They have made five attempts to contact the BOP via email and phone calls, spanning from October 5 to October 12.
Judge Kaplan initially granted a motion permitting Bankman-Fried to access Adderall and antidepressant medication during his incarceration. This decision was made on August 14 after his legal team cited his history of major depressive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), coupled with his ongoing psychiatric care since early 2019.
However, shortly after this initial approval, Bankman-Fried’s legal representatives raised concerns regarding his lack of access to medication. During an August 22 hearing, they noted that he had gone without Adderall for the previous 11 days.
As Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial enters its third week, the court has heard testimony from notable figures such as former Alameda Research CEO and Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and a former developer for FTX, Adam Yedidia.
Throughout this trying time, Bankman-Fried maintains his plea of not guilty and asserts his innocence during the ongoing trial.