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Bankman-Fried needs Adderall to testify, defense asks for delay in trial

Lawyers for disgraced FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried say he urgently needs his long-release Adderall, otherwise, they’ll need to take a day off in the criminal trial that could put the former crypto billionaire in prison for the rest of his life.

In a late-night appeal to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan on Sunday night, Oct. 15, attorneys representing Bankman-Fried requested that he be given his 12-hour extended-release 20mg dose of Adderall Monday morning before being taken to the courthouse for trial, which resumed this morning at 9:30 A.M.

Mark Cohen’s letter to Judge Kaplan adds that Bankman-Fried has “not been able to concentrate at the level he ordinarily would” without his prescribed medication.

“Bankman-Fried has been doing his best to remain focused during the trial for the past two weeks, despite not having his prescribed dose of Adderall during trial hours,” continues the letter to the court.

Cohen, in fact, says that Bankman-Fried’s decision of whether or not to testify hinges on the defendant’s access to a medicine used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

“However, as we approach the defense case and the critical decision of whether Mr. Bankman-Fried will testify, the defense has a growing concern that because of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s lack of access to Adderall he has not been able to concentrate at the level he ordinarily would and that he will not be able to meaningfully participate in the presentation of the defense case,” Cohen wrote.

Since being remanded to custody in August over alleged witness tampering involving his ex-girlfriend and the government’s star witness, Caroline Ellison, the former FTX chief has been trying to get access to two different prescriptions.

In a previous letter to the court, Cohen wrote that “for over five years Mr. Bankman-Fried has been prescribed Emsam 9mg/24 hrs transdermal patch for the treatment of depression” and that “for the past three years, Mr. Bankman-Fried has been prescribed Adderall 10mg tablets, 3-4x/day for the treatment of ADHD.”

So far, multiple attempts at getting regular access to his medication, despite cooperation from the government, have proved futile.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Court and the Government to find a way to address these issues,” Cohen wrote. “The defense has also attempted to resolve this matter with the BOP, but we have received no response to numerous emails and voice messages,” he said.

Bankman-Fried’s counsel has asked that if the medicine is either ineffective on Monday (if Bankman-Fried receives it) or if he is still unable to gain access to his prescriptions, that court be adjourned on Tuesday to “find a solution that will work for the remainder of the trial.”

A previous request for meds made in August included a letter from his psychiatrist, George Lerner, who has been treating the former FTX CEO since February 2019.

“Mr. Bankman-Fried has a history of Major Depressive Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” Lerner wrote.

ADHD is among the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Bankman-Fried told a Bahamas judge in December that he took medication to treat depression and ADHD.

Lerner added in his letter that Bankman-Fried had tried other antidepressants but said they were ineffective for his symptoms.

“Additionally, there have been times when Mr. Bankman-Fried did not have access to the Emsam patch (typically when travelling/abroad) and exhibited symptoms of depression, including lethargy, anhedonia, low motivation, and increased ruminations,” Lerner wrote.

Without his medication, Lerner warned the judge, “Bankman-Fried will experience a return of his depression and ADHD symptoms and will be severely negatively impacted in his ability to assist in his own defense.”

For nearly a year, there’s been a nationwide shortage of Adderall, the popular stimulant used to treat ADHD. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has called on drug manufacturers to increase production.

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