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Sam Bankman-Fried hires defense attorney as US authorities probe FTX: Report

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Mark Cohen was a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York who was also on the defense team for the high-profile criminal case involving Ghislaine Maxwell.

Former FTX chief executive officer Sam Bankman-Fried has reportedly hired Mark Cohen, a former federal prosecutor, to act as his defense attorney.

According to a Dec. 6 report from Reuters, Bankman-Fried's spokesperson Mark Botnick said the former FTX CEO has retained Cohen amid a flurry of civil litigation from investors in the crypto exchange and investigations by lawmakers and regulators in the United States. Cohen, a co-founder of law firm Cohen & Gresser, was a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York who also on the defense team for the high-profile case involving Ghislaine Maxwell — sentenced to 20 years in prison for child sex trafficking and related charges.

Lawmakers with the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have announced separate hearings to investigate the collapse of FTX and the potential impact on investors and traditional markets. Leadership with the House Financial Services Committee has called on Bankman-Fried to speak at a hearing on FTX on Dec. 13, but the former CEO suggested he would only testify after “learning and reviewing what happened.” It’s unclear whether he would speak in person or remotely from the Bahamas.

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FTX Group filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in the District of Delaware on Nov. 11, following a reported “liquidity crunch” in which the firm claimed billions in leverage making it unable to meet user withdrawal demands. Filings in bankruptcy court suggested FTX could be accountable to more than 1 million creditors.

Related: Texas enforcers want Sam Bankman-Fried to attend the hearing in February

Bankman-Fried has made appearances on several media outlets and spoken to reporters many times following FTX’s collapse, despite criticism from many in the crypto space. The former FTX CEO has repeatedly apologized for his role in the exchange’s downfall and said he planned to “make it up” to affected team members, but did not offer a concrete plan to make investors whole. John Ray became the exchange’s CEO in November.

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