Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to Testify in His Defense
Former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried is set to testify as part of his defense in the ongoing legal case against him. This revelation came to light during an October 25 telephone conference that took place between SBF’s legal team, the prosecution, and Judge Lewis Kaplan. SBF is facing a single substantive wire fraud charge related to customer deposits, with allegations of false representations and a breach of trust.
Attorney Mark Cohen, representing Bankman-Fried, confirmed that the defense’s plan is to call three witnesses, including the former CEO himself, following the prosecution’s completion of its case on October 26. Judge Kaplan indicated his willingness to move the case “straight through” on October 26, transitioning from the final prosecution witness to the first defense witness.
According to Cohen, the defense anticipates that the three potential witnesses will not require more than three days of questioning. These witnesses include an attorney based in the Bahamas, Joseph Pimbley from the litigation consulting firm PF2 Securities, and an individual who will testify about the titles and responsibilities of former FTX employees. Judge Kaplan estimated that the defense case, excluding Bankman-Fried’s testimony, could take “perhaps an hour.”
The United States government is expected to conclude its case against Sam Bankman-Fried on the morning of October 26. Defense attorneys are likely to finish presenting their case the following day. Prosecutors have expressed uncertainty regarding the need for rebuttal witnesses, which will depend on the content of Bankman-Fried’s testimony. As a result, closing arguments in the case could potentially take place before October 31.
During the proceedings, Judge Kaplan raised the possibility of pursuing a special verdict in the case. A special verdict is one in which the jury provides findings on factual issues in the case without necessarily indicating which party should prevail, according to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos shed light on the prosecution’s perspective, stating, “The government has a single substantive wire fraud count related to customers, and the theory is that the defendant [SBF] made false representations and was in a trust relationship with depositors and took money. I think there is certainly an element to which these are very intertwined to the extent that the false representations created an impression of trust and confidence amongst the victims of the crime.”
The trial of Sam Bankman-Fried has attracted significant attention in the financial and cryptocurrency communities, given his prominent role in the crypto industry as the founder of FTX, a major cryptocurrency exchange. Bankman-Fried’s testimony will be closely watched as it could play a crucial role in the outcome of this high-profile legal battle.
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