Sam Bankman-Fried Seeks to Limit Government Witnesses in FTX Trial

Sam Bankman-Fried Seeks to Limit Government Witnesses in FTX Trial

Sam Bankman-Fried, a former
cryptocurrency executive, is facing multiple fraud charges
following the bankruptcy of his company FTX. He is seeking to limit the
government’s use of several witnesses, including company investors and a
Ukrainian customer affected by the exchange’s collapse. This request comes just
hours before his trial is set to begin.

Defense Calls for the
Opportunity to Cross-Examine Government Witnesses

Bankman-Fried
has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He aims to prevent former company
insiders from testifying about the meaning of alleged „coded”
expressions used in an alleged conspiracy to misuse customer funds.

On
the other hand, prosecutors from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) intend to
have former customers and investors testify about how they understood FTX would
safeguard their assets.

However,
Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, argued in a public filing that this request
is „premature”. It could lead jurors to premature conclusions. Cohen
contended that the defense should have the opportunity to cross-examine
government witnesses.

Cohen
further objected to a proposed Ukrainian FTX customer testifying remotely. He
alleged that this choice was made to elicit sympathy and outrage from the jury
due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Cohen
accused the government of „gamesmanship” for wanting to call expert
investors after Judge Lewis Kaplan had blocked Bankman-Fried’s proposed
witnesses. He argued that the meaning of Bankman-Fried’s words does not require
explanation by former FTX insiders cooperating with the
prosecution.

DOJ Keeps Co-Conspirator
Identities Confidential in Bankman-Fried Trial

The
DOJ did not directly name the alleged
co-conspirators it wishes to call on those witnesses to provide explanations. Thus, it is likely to refer to
individuals such as Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s former romantic partner
and the former head of FTX’s hedge fund arm, Alameda Research.

The
trial, beginning with the jury selection phase, commenced on Tuesday at 9:30
am Eastern time in a lower Manhattan courthouse.

The
arguable issue of witness selection is expected to be a focal point. It raises
questions about the impact of testimony on the jury’s perception of the case.
This legal battle underscores the complexity and importance of addressing cryptocurrency-related matters within the
US legal system.

This article was written by Tareq Sikder at www.financemagnates.com.

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