Sam Bankman-Fried Testifies in Fraud Trial, Jurors Absent

Sam Bankman-Fried Testifies in Fraud Trial, Jurors Absent | Mr. Business Magazine

In a courtroom drama that unfolded on Thursday, Sam Bankman-Fried, the central figure in a high-stakes fraud trial, found himself under intense scrutiny during cross-examination. As the proceedings played out, Bankman-Fried’s responses were often characterized by vagueness and meandering ambiguity, frequently punctuated by phrases like “not entirely sure” and “don’t recall” when pressed on matters concerning company policies and meetings with legal counsel.

At one juncture, the presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan felt compelled to interject, delivering a stern reminder to Sam Bankman-Fried to focus on the questions at hand and provide direct answers.

For instance, when confronted with whether Alameda was authorized to utilize FTX customer deposits, Sam Bankman-Fried’s reply was far from straightforward: “I wouldn’t phrase it that way, but I think the answer to the question you’re trying to ask is ‘yes.’”

Uneasiness in Actions

Throughout the questioning, Bankman-Fried’s unease became palpable, evident in his fidgeting and frequent sips of water while fielding inquiries. The core of the testimony revolved around communication protocols and document retention at FTX and Alameda. It began to unveil the contours of Bankman-Fried’s defense strategy, which seemed to be centered on shifting responsibility onto legal counsel, a narrative alluded to by his legal team in earlier statements.

In particular, the examination delved into the structuring of promissory notes, payments from Alameda to Bankman-Fried and others, with concerns raised about potential double-taxation. Bankman-Fried maintained that FTX’s in-house counsel and other lawyers were the arbiters of the decision to structure the notes as loans rather than dividends, a choice he found solace in due to the lawyers’ counsel.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried will take the stand, testify in fraud trial

Likewise, when asked about his familiarity with FTX’s Terms of Service, Sam Bankman-Fried confessed to having only skimmed the various iterations drafted by in-house and external legal experts. Under the guidance of his lead attorney, he affirmed his belief that Alameda’s borrowing from FTX adhered to the Terms of Service, albeit with a somewhat hesitant, “Um, yes, under many circumstances.”

Sam Bankman-Fried’s appearance on the witness stand marked a pivotal moment in his ongoing criminal fraud trial. Donning a gray suit and a lavender tie, he meticulously tested the microphone, only for Judge Lewis Kaplan to announce that the jurors would be excused for the day.

Judge Kaplan’s decision stemmed from unresolved discrepancies in the testimony and a lack of sufficient details to reach a verdict. In response, he requested Bankman-Fried to provide testimony directly to him, in the absence of the jury, with the intent of subsequently determining its suitability for presentation to the jurors. The legal drama surrounding Bankman-Fried’s trial continues to captivate courtroom observers.

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