Shaq and Naomi Osaka could be off the hook in FTX legal battle |

The ongoing legal battle between FTX and its customers has taken an unexpected turn as a federal judge in Florida considers dismissing former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal and tennis athlete Naomi Osaka from the lawsuit.

Why the judge is making this move

In a recent order, U.S. District Judge Kevin Moore stated that it is unclear whether O’Neal and Osaka have been served and instructed the plaintiffs to provide cause on why the two sports stars should not be dismissed from the suit. The judge has given the FTX customers until December to show cause.

FTX, which was once one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, is being sued for $11 billion by its customers. The lawsuit claims that FTX’s strategy involved involving some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment to raise money and entice American consumers to invest.

The suit also alleges that the celebrity endorsements were a “fraudulent scheme” designed to take advantage of unsophisticated investors. The class-action lawsuit includes claims for damages against NFL superstar Tom Brady and Naomi Osaka, among others.

O’Neal, who was named as a defendant alongside Brady, Stephen Curry, and Naomi Osaka, appears to be working to disassociate himself from the lawsuit.

He has stated that he was merely a paid spokesperson and has nothing to hide. O’Neal’s recent comments are in contrast to his earlier statements about cryptocurrencies. In 2021, he expressed skepticism, saying that he didn’t have a lot of knowledge of the digital asset and felt it was “too good to be true.”

FTX customers reprimanded for not following proper procedures

In another order, U.S. District Judge Kevin Moore reprimanded other celebrity defendants, including Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Kevin O’Leary, David Ortiz, and Trevor Lawrence, for requesting to push back a scheduled conference without following the proper steps.

The judge pointed out that the request should have come from the plaintiff’s side, and the conference will proceed as scheduled, or the plaintiff may move for an extension of time to hold the conference.

As cases against FTX pile up, some plaintiffs requested the consolidation of lawsuits against the bankrupt exchange. However, on March 8, a judge denied the consolidation request, highlighting that the defendants have not yet been allowed to respond.

U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Corley recently denied the request to consolidate five proposed class-action suits against FTX. Meanwhile, lawyers representing former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried noted that it might be necessary to push back the criminal trial scheduled to start in October 2023.

While the lawyers did not formally request a date change, they pointed out that it may be needed because they are still waiting for evidence to be turned over, and Bankman-Fried accumulated more charges in February.