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Sam Bankman-Fried’s High-Stakes Trial Approaches the Finish Line, What Is New?

The high-stakes trial of crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried is entering its final stages, with the prosecution preparing to conclude its case on October 26 after weeks of gripping testimony.

Over the past three weeks, the prosecution has paraded a diverse lineup of witnesses, including former employees of FTX, customers, investors, government officials, and law enforcement agents.

At the heart of this high-profile case lies the pivotal argument that Bankman-Fried intentionally deceived each of them and played a central role in the decisions that resulted in the shocking $8 billion gap between FTX and Alameda Research in November 2022.

Bankman-Fried’s defense has remained cryptic regarding whether they will present a case at all. In the realm of criminal trials, attorneys are not mandated to offer a defense. However, if Bankman-Fried’s legal team does opt to present their case, they are scheduled to do so on October 26.

Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell are leading Bankman-Fried’s counsel, but their efforts to construct a compelling narrative for the jurors have faced challenges. According to Cointelegraph, during cross-examination, the attorneys missed critical arguments while questioning Bankman-Fried’s former closest friends, including Caroline Ellison, Nishad Singh, Adam Yedidia, and Gary Wang. These individuals, who are now cooperating with the government, leveled accusations against Bankman-Fried, claiming that he had directed them to commit crimes.

An attorney closely following the trial highlighted a grim reality: when the government initiates a case, there is a daunting 95% likelihood of indictment, underscoring the uphill battle facing the defense. However, it is the prosecutors who bear the responsibility of proving the alleged crimes.

One of the trial’s most notable moments in the preceding week involved the testimony of the former engineering director at FTX, Nishad Singh. Singh revealed to jurors that Bankman-Fried had instructed him to make millionaire venture investments through loans from Alameda. Crucially, Singh stated that he was unaware the funds he used were tied to FTX customer deposits.

Singh now faces charges related to defrauding users of the crypto exchange, carrying a potential prison sentence of up to 75 years.

Last week also saw District Judge Lewis Kaplan‘s patience wearing thin as he expressed frustration with lawyers representing both parties. He was particularly irate when a witness who had fled Texas for the trial provided roughly 15 minutes of testimony.

“We had a witness this morning who knew absolutely nothing…and this afternoon we fly somebody in from Texas […] he knows nothing or next to nothing,” Judge Kaplan expressed his exasperation with the strategies of both prosecutors and the defense.

Furthermore, FTX’s former general counsel, Can Sun, played a crucial role in the trial by presenting a spreadsheet used to track $2.1 billion in loans to Bankman-Fried and other executives. Sun revealed to jurors that he was unaware of the exchange’s commingling of funds with Alameda. He is also cooperating with the government in the case.

The gravity of the situation looms large for Sam Bankman-Fried. If convicted of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud, he could potentially face a staggering 115 years behind bars.

The verdict in this high-profile trial is poised to have profound implications for the crypto industry, and the eyes of the financial world remain fixated on the courtroom proceedings as they reach their dramatic climax.

News Desk

Unlock News Desk, is a group of Blockchain and Crypto enthusiastic young people, working to keep Unlock readers up to date with the industry news. Connect with the team via email: info(@)unlock-bc.com

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