(Bloomberg) -- FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried returned to a New York courtroom for a rare appearance following his November conviction over a multibillion-dollar fraud, telling a federal judge he was comfortable continuing with his new attorneys despite their representation of another crypto mogul.

Bankman-Fried last month hired lawyers Marc Mukasey and Torrey Young to represent him ahead of his March 28 sentencing. Prosecutors asked US District Judge Lewis Kaplan to question him to ensure he is aware of potential conflicts of interest for the pair, who also represent former Celsius Network Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Alex Mashinsky. 

On Wednesday, Bankman-Fried shuffled into court a few minutes before the start of the hearing, shackled at the ankles, dressed in tan prison garb and looking noticeably thinner and scruffier than during his trial last fall. Kaplan asked him a series of questions during the 10-minute proceeding, making sure he is aware of his right to have lawyers who are free of competing interests.

Bankman-Fried said he was satisfied with their work and told the judge he was made aware of the potential conflict when he first met with the lawyers about a month ago. He said he also consulted with his former attorneys, Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, as well as his appellate lawyer, Alexandra Shapiro, before the hearing. 

Asked to explain the conflict in his own words, Bankman-Fried said he is aware “at a high level” they also represent Mashinsky and that “some of the conduct of each of the firms is coming up in both cases.”

Bankman-Fried faces as long as 20 years in prison for the most serious charges for which he was convicted. Prosecutors noted Mashinsky has partially blamed Celsius’s bankruptcy on actions taken by Alameda Research, a hedge fund linked to Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange, and that the lawyers’ use of some records could be limited. When Celsius filed for bankruptcy in 2022, Alameda was among its top creditors, court filings show.

The government told Kaplan before the hearing that talks that Bankman-Fried had about buying Celsius before its bankruptcy and replacing Mashinsky as CEO could cause conflicts, but the government said the issues aren’t so severe that they can’t be waived.

While defendants are generally allowed to choose their own attorneys, judges must ensure that they are aware of their right to be represented by a lawyer without any potential conflicts of interest.

Read more: Celsius’ Mashinsky Wants the Same Lawyers as Sam Bankman-Fried

Mashinsky said Tuesday he was willing to waive any potential conflict related to Mukasey and Young. Mashinsky said he expects Bankman-Fried will be sentenced before his own trial in January on charges that he made false and misleading statements about the health of his company before it filed for bankruptcy.

Bankman-Fried has been held in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since August. His $250 million bail was revoked after he was accused of leaking documents in an attempt to discredit former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, who pleaded guilty and testified against her former boyfriend for the prosecution. Ellison’s sentencing date hasn’t been set. 

The case is US v Bankman-Fried, 22-cr-673, US District Court, Southern District of New York.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.