February 6, 2023

The ongoing legal proceedings surrounding former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) took a new turn when District Judge Ronnie Abrams withdrew her participation in the case. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York bailed itself out of the FTX case after revealing that a law firm — which employs Abrams’ husband as a partner — advised the crypto exchange in 2021.

In a Dec. 23 filing, Judge Abrams revealed that her husband, Greg Andres, is a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, a law firm where he has worked since June 2019. In addition, it was emphasized that the law firm had advised FTX in 2021.

Abrams also stated that the law firm represented parties that may be unfavorable to FTX and SBF in other court proceedings. “My husband has not been involved in any of these statements,” she clarified, stating that due to confidentiality, the matters are not known to the court.

“Nevertheless, in order to avoid any potential conflict, or the appearance thereof, the court hereby abstains from this action.”

Judge Abrams’ withdrawal from the FTX case ends any conflict of interest in the FTX case, as Andres continues to serve as a partner at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Court paper showing District Judge Ronnie Abrams withdrawing from the Samuel Bankman-Fried case. Source: documentcloud.org

Andres previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, specifically overseeing criminal fraud prosecutions and foreign bribery investigations.

Related: Former Alameda CEO confirms company borrowed billions from FTX customer deposits as part of plea deal

On December 22, SBF was released on $250 million bail based on a written promise to appear for future court hearings and not engage in illegal activity.

The bail raised eyebrows, however, as SBF previously claimed to own less than $100,000 during its bankruptcy filing.

The personal admission bail allowed Bankman-Fried to leave prison without making any actual payment. Bail was approved against collateral owned by his parents, a relative and a family friend.