The Criminal Trial of “Crypto King” Sam Bankman-Fried

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“Crypto King” Sam Bankman-Fried faces criminal charges (Image credit: NBC)

Former FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried was cross-examined in court on Thursday after being asked to speak to Judge Lewis Kaplan. In 7 counts of federal fraud and conspiracy relating to the collapse of FTX, he pleaded not guilty. After denying the accusation of lying to investors and stealing billions of dollars from customers, he claimed that he was “acting on legal advice in good faith” as implied by his answer when asked by Mr Bankman Fried’s attorney Mark Cohen, “Did you take comfort from the fact that lawyers had structured the loans?” 

“Yeah, of course,” Mr Bankman-Fried responded. 

Despite this, his vague answers including the phrase “not entirely sure” when asked about company policies and meetings with lawyers established SBF’s nervous appearance. Prosecutors argued that his answer on the attorney’s knowledge is considered irrelevant as they objected to SBF’s response.

Once the jury was sent home, Mr. Bankman Fried continued to take the stand. Judge Kaplan claims that the testimony given to him without the presence of the jury will allow Bankman-Fried to know if he should repeat it in front of the jurors. This action gave SBF and his lawyers a “practice run” before court officially resumed again on Friday. This allowed the judge to determine if any of SBF’s testimony would be admissible as evidence. Judge Kaplan reacted to SBF’s responses by stating “ The witness has what I’ll call an interesting way of answering questions.”

Other than drawing the attention of screenwriters, and a large public, Mr. Bankman-Fried now depends on the impression he gave to the jury. If his statements of Friday don’t persuade the jury SBF runs the possibility of being found guilty and facing a life sentence in prison. So far, the prosecutors have created a strong case against Mr. Bankman-Fried consisting of “three of his closest former friends and colleagues who have already pleaded guilty.” Every evidence that has been presented, ties SBF to the decision to take the money deposited at FTX and use it to pay lenders at Alameda Research through investments and political donations. Even so, SBF’s freedom continues to depend on the hands of the jury. 

Written by Milanni Contreras

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