Legal Battle Over Access to ADHD Medication for Crypto Founder’s Trial Intensifies

As the criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried enters its third week, a legal battle is escalating over the access to ADHD medication, Adderall, for the disgraced crypto founder. Lawyers for Bankman-Fried are grappling with the challenge of providing their client with an adequate supply of Adderall, a medication he has taken for years, citing its importance in helping him concentrate during the trial.

In a court filing, Mark Cohen, one of Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, emphasized the crucial role of Adderall in maintaining their client’s focus during the trial. The defense team has expressed growing concern about Bankman-Fried’s ability to meaningfully participate in the proceedings due to difficulties in accessing his necessary medication.

Bankman-Fried’s legal team had previously argued that his use of Adderall was essential to address his ADHD and sought to screen potential jurors for bias related to his body language resulting from the medication.

The access to Adderall has been a contentious issue since U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked Bankman-Fried’s bail in August. While the court eventually ruled in favor of providing Bankman-Fried with ADHD and depression treatments, his lawyers now contend that the long trial days prevent him from taking his necessary doses.

Cohen’s recent court filing revealed that the defense team’s attempts to establish an appropriate medication schedule through the Bureau of Prisons had gone unanswered, and they proposed extending the dose to cover the entire day. They have also raised the possibility of adjourning the trial if a suitable solution is not reached.

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This legal tussle over access to Adderall underscores broader challenges faced by defendants in detention, from access to electronic discovery to medication, as they strive to prepare adequately for their trials. For Bankman-Fried, the outcome of this battle may significantly impact his decision to testify in his defense, especially as the government’s case against him continues to unfold. The trial has already seen testimonies from individuals in his inner circle, including former CTO Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison, who detailed how Bankman-Fried allegedly directed the use of customer deposits to cover financial shortfalls in his associated trading firm, Alameda Research.

The Department of Justice anticipates completing the presentation of its evidence by the end of October, with a verdict expected by late November, making the resolution of this medication issue even more critical in the weeks to come.