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Bankman-Fried Lawyers Seek Additional Freedom to Cross-Examine Witnesses

The defense team representing the former FTX chief executive petitioned the court to broaden the questioning range when cross-examining subsequent witnesses. The move coincides with when FTX clients are scheduled to take the stand to narrate how the company purportedly misguided them by utilizing their cryptocurrency for personal fulfillment.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF’s) attorneys intend to expand their questioning scope for the prosecution’s subsequent round of witnesses. This comes after two weeks of testimony by witnesses constituting inner circle members of his management.

Bankman-Fried Defense Team Seeks Broadened Cross-Examination of Witnesses

According to the attorneys, limitations concerning their available questioning lines with government witnesses would make it difficult to make a case for the accused. To rectify this, they requested to use cross-examination to discover defensive theories. The defense counsel submitted that prosecutors should be prohibited from depending on lay witnesses for expert evidence.

In their filing, the attorneys disclosed that the government disapproved of the defense’s devotion to asking questions concerning government witnesses deviating from the initial ground. However, the defense must not be prevented from using cross-examination to ‘expand’ its theories.

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Prosecution Allege Defense Attempt to Avert Further Damage to Bankman-Fried Reputation

The request comes amid SBF’s trial entering the third week and after evidence from several witnesses who narrated instances where the FTX chief told them to hoodwink investors, auditors, and clients concerning the company’s wellbeing and its link to Alameda Research, also created by SBF. Caroline Ellison, SBF’s ex-lover and Alameda’s chief executive officer, passionately narrated her reprieve at not having to ‘tell more lies’ after describing the pressure put on her by Bankman-Fried.

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Daniel Silver, an ex-assistant United States attorney and shareholder at Buchalter, said that by influencing the forthcoming witnesses’ testimony, the defense may seek to avert additional damage to SBF’s image in the jurors’ eyes. He told a media outlet that they do not want other victims. 

Further, victim testimony ‘results in the jury being more compassionate’ to the government’s case, and SBF’s attorneys might be seeking to avert that by establishing barriers around it. Silva also said that SBF attempts to prevent the damaging proof from reaching the jury.

Bankman-Fried’s Legal Team Advancing Argument FTX Complied with Terms of Service

SBF’s legal team is also focusing on one of the pillars in the case by the prosecutors by trying to assert that FTX followed its terms of service. This means it cannot be charged with fraud irrespective of other people’s understanding concerning what they implied. According to the lawyers, claiming that FTX adhered to its contract’s terms is a standard defense in fraud cases.

A day afterward, the prosecutors labeled the defense’s view as ‘just wrong’ and declared that the law is not restricted solely to a written contract’s violations. Additionally, they said their evidence had revealed SBF’s misappropriation of customer funds and recurrent misrepresentation of how the firm was handling them.

Prosecutors also claim that they do not oppose the cross-examination of witnesses by the defense. However, they opposed questions to show their negligence in their dealings with the company.

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In their filing, the prosecutors said there is no ground to leave out proof or offer restricting instructions concerning evidence of clients’ views. The prosecution supports allowing witnesses to provide their comprehension and interpretation of how FTX would handle their deposits. It asserted such a stance concerning the background of statements authorized by the defendant concerning FTX’s treatment of assets.

Prosecutors Confident of Convicting Bankman-Fried

According to Silva, SBF’s attorneys came to the trial with high odds of winning an exoneration. As such, they are left with a slimmer collection of options to charge the case. On the contrary, the prosecutors still have additional ability to convict SBF.

Silva explained that if the number of currently pending charges is seven, and three or four theories are linked to them, prosecutors just need to prove one of them and can argue for a maximum sentence of 20 years. On the other hand, Bankman-Fried must be right on all of them to ensure his exoneration.

Editorial credit: Sergei Elagin / Shutterstock.com


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Stephen Causby

Stephen Causby is an experienced crypto journalist who writes for Tokenhell. He is passionate for coverage in crypto news, blockchain, DeFi, and NFT.

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