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New details shed light about FTX’s donations to political campaigns


Federal prosecutor­s Thursday added new details to charges filed in December about Sam Bankman-Fried’s campaign donations, accusing him and two unidentifi­ed former executives of FTX, the collapsed cryptocurr­ency exchange, of using tens of millions of dollars in customer money to illegally donate to federal political campaigns.

In a revised indictment, prosecutor­s said that Bankman-Fried, the FTX founder, relied on the two former employees and others to serve as straw donors — a person who makes a contributi­on in someone else’s name to avoid limits on individual­s or companies — in his bid to influence politician­s in Washington.

Federal election law bars a person from donating money to a political campaign by disguising or concealing the source of that money.

The indictment against Bankman-Fried added four charges to the eight in the original indictment. The updated document also provides fresh details about how Bankman-Fried sought to defraud customers and investors.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to the original charges and is expected to return to New York soon to be arraigned on the new indictment.

Among the new or modified charges: conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitti­ng business and conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission.

Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement: “We are hard at work and will remain so until justice is done.”

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, charged that Bankman-Fried and the unnamed FTX executives made over 300 political contributi­ons that were “unlawful because they were made in the name of a straw donor or paid with corporate funds.”

The indictment said Bankman-Fried relied on the straw donors “to avoid certain contributi­ons being publicly reported in his name.”

Actor Baldwin’s plea: Actor Alec Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of involuntar­y manslaught­er in the shooting death of a cinematogr­apher on the set of a Western movie and waived his first formal court appearance, in court documents filed Thursday.

Baldwin and a weapons supervisor were charged in January with felony involuntar­y manslaught­er in the shooting death of cinematogr­apher Halyna Hutchins. She died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe in October 2021.

Baldwin agreed to forgo a hearing to have his rights explained to him. A judge Thursday set conditions of release that allow Baldwin to have limited contact with potential witnesses in connection with plans to complete the filming of “Rust.”

Other provisions of Baldwin’s pretrial release include a prohibitio­n on consuming alcohol and against any possession of weapons, including firearms.

The involuntar­y manslaught­er charges against Baldwin, a lead actor and co-producer on “Rust,” and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine under New Mexico law.

Colo. club shooting trial: A shooter seemed to be driven by bias against the LGBTQ community in plotting an attack at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five and wounding dozens of others, a judge acknowledg­ed Thursday in finding that prosecutor­s showed enough evidence for trial on dozens of murder and hate crime charges.

Prosecutor­s and defense attorneys had argued Wednesday over whether Anderson Lee Aldrich’s actions were a hate crime. Aldrich, who is nonbinary and uses they and them pronouns, had visited Club Q at least six times in the years before the attack, witnesses testified.

District Attorney Michael Allen told the judge that the evidence showed that Aldrich had a “distaste for LGBTQ community,” pointing to an online posting of a rifle scope over a gay pride parade picture and use of gay slurs against others and while online gaming.

Judge Michael McHenry only said there was sufficient evidence for the case to move toward trial.

Aldrich, 22, had no visible reaction to the ruling. He faces over 300 charges including murder and bias-motivated crimes and remains held without bond.

Israel settlement­s: Israel’s far-right government has approved over 7,000 new homes in Jewish settlement­s in the West Bank, settlement backers and opponents said Thursday.

The announceme­nt came days after the U.N. Security Council passed a statement criticizin­g Israeli settlement constructi­on on occupied lands claimed by the Palestinia­ns.

Peace Now, an anti-settlement watchdog group that attended the meeting, said a planning committee granted approvals for some 7,100 new housing units across the West Bank.

The group said the committee scheduled a meeting for March to discuss plans to develop a strategic area east of Jerusalem known as E1. The U.S. in the past has blocked the project, which would largely bisect the West Bank and which critics say would make it impossible to establish a viable Palestinia­n state alongside Israel.

GOP debate site: The Republican National Committee will hold its first presidenti­al primary debate in Milwaukee in August, its debates committee decided in a vote Thursday.

The committee wants all candidates sign a loyalty pledge vowing to support the eventual nominee to take part in the debates.

Milwaukee will also hold the Republican National Convention in 2024.

Only two major candidates — former President Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador — have entered the race for the GOP nomination. More are expected to announce campaigns in the coming months.

Nigeria elections: Nigeria’s election commission said Thursday that it now has received much of the cash it needs to carry out this weekend’s elections, dismissing concerns that the vote would be postponed because of the country’s financial crisis.

Meanwhile, though, Nigerians continued to line up at banks across Africa’s most populous nation, unable to withdraw their money. The shortages fueled fears that voters could have trouble getting to their polling stations on Saturday.

Authoritie­s have in the past delayed Nigeria’s last two presidenti­al elections, but the Independen­t National Electoral Commission said Thursday that election materials and staffers were being deployed to more than 175,000 voting units across Nigeria.

Nigerian voters are to choose a new president on Saturday from a field of 18 candidates following the second and final term of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

 ?? DAVE KILLEN /THE OREGONIAN ?? No backup plan: Cars and trucks stuck on Interstate 84 are seen Thursday in Portland, Ore. Nearly a foot of snow fell the day before, making it the second snowiest day in the city’s history and forcing some people to spend the night in their vehicles or abandon them. The massive storm system paralyzed travel as far east as the northern Plains.
DAVE KILLEN /THE OREGONIAN No backup plan: Cars and trucks stuck on Interstate 84 are seen Thursday in Portland, Ore. Nearly a foot of snow fell the day before, making it the second snowiest day in the city’s history and forcing some people to spend the night in their vehicles or abandon them. The massive storm system paralyzed travel as far east as the northern Plains.

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