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posted by hubie on Wednesday November 01 2023, @05:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the who-reads-those-anyway? dept.

Sam Bankman-Fried took the stand in his criminal trial today in an attempt to avoid decades in prison for alleged fraud at cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its affiliate, Alameda Research.

Providing testimony has been called a risky move for Bankman-Fried by many legal observers. After answering questions posted by his own lawyers, Bankman-Fried will have to face cross-examination from federal prosecutors. But after three weeks in which US government attorneys laid out their case, including testimony from former FTX and Alameda executives, Bankman-Fried's legal team announced yesterday that he would take the stand.

Today's testimony was unusual because US District Judge Lewis Kaplan sent the jury home for the day to conduct a hearing on whether certain parts of his testimony are admissible. "That means Bankman-Fried will give some of his testimony to the judge without the jury present. The judge will then decide whether Bankman-Fried is allowed to say the same testimony in front of a jury," The Wall Street Journal wrote in its live coverage. The trial is not being streamed via audio or video.
"Bankman-Fried said he believed that under FTX's terms of service, sister firm Alameda was allowed in many circumstances to borrow funds from the exchange," the WSJ wrote. Bankman-Fried reportedly said the terms of service were written by FTX lawyers and that he only "skimmed" certain parts.

"I read parts in depth. Parts I skimmed over," Bankman-Fried reportedly said after Kaplan asked if he read the entire terms of service document.

Sassoon asked Bankman-Fried if he had "any conversations with lawyers about Alameda spending customer money that was deposited into FTX bank accounts," according to Bloomberg's live coverage. "I don't recall any conversations that were contemporaneous and phrased that way," Bankman-Fried answered.
One decision for Kaplan is whether Bankman-Fried will be allowed to blame FTX lawyers when the jury is back in the courtroom. As we previously wrote, this is called an "advice-of-counsel defense" in which SBF could argue that he sought advice from company lawyers, received advice that his conduct was legal, and "relied on that advice in good faith."

Before the trial began, Kaplan issued an order that prohibited Bankman-Fried from using the advice-of-counsel defense in opening statements. But Kaplan left the door open for SBF to use the advice-of-counsel defense "on a case-by-case basis" as the trial continues.

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Wednesday November 01 2023, @04:05PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 01 2023, @04:05PM (#1331128) Journal

    and the crook-types of the world will rest easy because they got their sacrificial lamb so they're free to steal again

    These sorts of trials are background noise. I doubt there are any crook-types out there losing any more sleep than they otherwise would.

    Then the appeal gets filed, the appeals court judge will "WTF" about the quote above, and someplace on page 17 of the newspaper there will be a small notice his trial was overturned and he's a free man now.

    Then he takes his flight to Israel.

    Maybe that'll happen. But I see (from a web search for Jewish persons who committed financial crimes in the US) that a more likely outcome is early release for good behavior. That's probably typical of most financial criminals whether Jewish or not and wouldn't draw the kind of attention to crook-types that getting off on a cheesy technicality would. It also would teach something of a lesson since I gather some powerful crook-types might have been burned by Bankman-Fried's behavior.

    If we consider exceptions to the above, it looks even worse for Bankman-Fried. One of the exceptions is Bernie Madoff who ended up dying in jail after a similar criminal career. He couldn't get a release for poor health despite being as well connected as Bankman-Fried prior to getting caught.

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