FTX convict Ryan Salame has posted on X every day since sentencing. Lawyers say that’s ‘unusual’

FTX convict Ryan Salame has posted on X every day since sentencing. Lawyers say that’s ‘unusual’
People & culture
Former FTX executive Ryan Salame with his partner Michelle Bond in 2022. Credit: Michelle Bond's X account
  • Former FTX executive Ryan Salame was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in late May.
  • Since then, he’s returned to X and posted about former President Donald Trump, his guilty plea, and crypto.
  • Four attorneys told DL News that his public candour is “unusual.”

Ryan Salame, who was one of FTX’s head honchos before it imploded, is posting through it.

The former co-CEO of the bankrupt crypto exchange’s Bahamas subsidiary has posted on X every day since a federal judge sentenced him in late May to seven and a half years in prison.

“Are we at the point in the crypto cycle where lenders let you borrow billions against a ham sandwich or not yet?” he wrote Sunday.

Four lawyers told DL News that the former FTX executive’s decision to take to social media since his sentencing is “unusual.”

However, the legal risks for Salame’s public commentary are less than those he would have faced if he took to X prior to his sentencing, they added.

Salame pleaded guilty in September 2023 to a campaign-finance violation and the unlicensed operation of a money-transmitting business.

He is one of four key lieutenants of Sam Bankman-Fried, the co-founder and former CEO of FTX, to plead guilty after the collapse of FTX in November 2022.

Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison in late March. Caroline Ellison, Nishad Singh, and Gary Wang all await sentencing.

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Neither Salame nor his lawyers immediately responded to a request for comment from DL News.

‘Not in the defendants’ interest’

Salame’s recent emergence on X will likely have fewer legal consequences than if he had sounded off before his sentencing, according to Daniel Silva, an attorney at the law firm of Buchalter and a former Department of Justice prosecutor.

If the government found anything Salame said on X especially objectionable, prosecutors would have to move to dismiss his conviction, strike his sentence, submit another pending indictment, and proceed with discovery and potentially trial.

“I’m not sure why they would want to do that,” Silva told DL News.

However, Will Thomas, a law professor at the University of Michigan, said speaking publicly after a sentence isn’t without potential consequences.

“An annoyed judge might pull a defendant back into court to explain how their post-plea statements fit with their in-court representations, which is ... uncomfortable,” Thomas wrote in an email to DL News. “It is even possible for a judge to rescind a guilty plea, which ultimately is not in the defendants’ interest.”

Salame has avoided talking about his sentence on X, but he has posted twice about his case.

In both instances, he implicitly invoked an advice-of-counsel defence and laid blame at the feet of former lawyers.

“Sucks that if I had just sold off my pile of crypto like I was going to instead of listening to multiple lawyers and borrowing from Alameda against it instead, I likely wouldn’t be going to prison for seven and half years,” he wrote, referring to Alameda Research, a crypto trading firm founded by Bankman-Fried

‘What good can come of this?’

Regardless of the risks, all the lawyers DL News spoke with said that Salame’s public commentary isn’t the norm for most criminal defendants.

“I would always advise clients not to do that,” said Elisha Kobre, an attorney at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings and a former DOJ prosecutor.

Silva agreed. “What good can come of this?” he said, adding later: “Maybe he’s trying to entice someone to pay him for his story.”

In a Monday post on X, Salame did say that he was reaching out to publishers for a memoir he had written since FTX collapsed, but he said he didn’t want money: “I’ll be keeping 0$ of the proceeds once it hits print.”

Ben Weiss is a Dubai Correspondent at DL News. Got a tip? Email at bweiss@dlnews.com.