Sam Bankman-Fried Seeks Lenient Sentence and to Appeal Conviction

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In January, two close family friends, the Yale Law professor Ian Ayres and the Stanford Law professor John Donohue, wrote an essay for the website Project Syndicate, arguing that “all along” FTX had enough assets to make its customers whole — a point that Mr. Mukasey echoed in the memo.

“Whatever else might be said about Bankman-Fried, he was a brilliant businessman,” Mr. Ayres and Mr. Donohue wrote.

Another law professor, Jonathan Lipson at Temple University, said in an interview that he was working with David Skeel of the University of Pennsylvania law school on an academic paper criticizing Sullivan & Cromwell, the law firm overseeing FTX’s bankruptcy.

In September, Mr. Lipson co-wrote a brief in the bankruptcy case arguing for the appointment of an independent examiner to review Sullivan & Cromwell’s actions, including its close collaboration with federal prosecutors. He said that he had spoken with Mr. Bankman-Fried and his mother last year after another Stanford law professor reached out about the case and offered to put them in contact.

In their article, Mr. Lipson and Mr. Skeel argue that Sullivan & Cromwell “may have distorted the criminal justice process” by giving prosecutors wide-ranging access to FTX’s resources and data, according to an unpublished draft shared with The New York Times.

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