Former Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has requested that a federal judge sentence him to probation after pleading guilty to violating money laundering laws. His legal team has filed several declarations in support of his recommendation, including one suggesting he could serve time at the Federal Detention Center (FDC) SeaTac, Washington.

In an April 23 filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle, Robert Palmquist said it was “highly probable” that, if given prison time, Zhao would serve his sentence at FDC SeaTac. Palmquist, who served as warden of the Washington facility from 2003 to 2009, described it as having “little natural light” with the prison understaffed, given the number of inmates.

“If Mr. Zhao is incarcerated […] his wealth and status as a public figure would expose him to a risk of threats to his physical and mental health, including but not limited to theft and extortion,” said Palmquist. “Mr. Zhao would encounter offenders of all security levels and potentially be prey to predators with high security designations due to his naivety concerning prison experiences and his financial resources.”

Source: Courtlistener

FDC Seatac, based directly south of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and containing 794 inmates according to its website, has previously housed a Proud Boys member charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and Jim Bell, a ‘crypto-anarchist.’ Bell, released in 2012, was charged with tax evasion in the 90s related to ‘Assassination Politics’: promoting anonymous payments for individuals to order the killing of government officials.

Zhao’s lawyers filed several letters from friends, family members and business leaders supporting a lenient sentence for the former CEO. Under U.S. sentencing guidelines, a judge has the authority to put CZ in federal prison for up to 10 years, but there is a recommended sentence of 12 to 18 months for his specific charge. Prosecutors have requested three years in prison and a $50 million fine.

Related: What to expect at Changpeng Zhao’s sentencing on April 30

After the conviction and sentencing of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, CZ will be one of the most high-profile figures in the crypto space to enter a federal courtroom and learn whether a judge will decide to grant probation or send him to prison. Former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, facing seven securities and commodities fraud charges, will go to trial in January 2025.

CZ has largely not publicly commented on the charges since his guilty plea as part of a $4.3 billion settlement between U.S. authorities and Binance in November 2023. In a letter to Judge Richard Jones dated Feb. 2, Zhao apologized for his “poor decisions” regarding Binance and said he was prepared to accept responsibility for his actions.

The former Binance CEO is scheduled to return to court on April 30 for sentencing. Since November, he has been free to travel within parts of the U.S. on a $175 million bond.

Magazine: ‘Less flashy’ Mashinsky set for less jail time than SBF: Inner City Press, X Hall of Flame