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Sam Bankman-Fried Survived His Testimony. Next Up: The Jury

The SBF Trial: How Did We Get Here?

More than 60 people lined up to watch Sam Bankman-Fried’s fourth day of testimony, filling the single overflow room to the point extra chairs were set against the walls for some of the audience members.

After all that, Tuesday was a much quieter day than Monday. Bankman-Fried seems to have worked a bit on his responses, providing slightly tighter answers than he had on Monday when responding to Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Sassoon. Still, he maintained roughly the same tone he had earlier in the week, giving the impression that he did not want to be there (which, okay fair enough).

His problems resurfaced Tuesday with the second question, when Sassoon asked if he had hoped he could regain control of FTX immediately after it filed for bankruptcy, the once-highflying crypto exchange he founded that collapsed nearly a year ago. Bankman-Fried said regaining control wasn’t a priority, leading to both Sassoon and the judge pointing out that wasn’t the question.

However, when his own defense attorney Mark Cohen took over for a redirect examination, Bankman-Fried visibly relaxed. He was smiling when responding to Cohen’s questions, made a joke at one point (about how a photo of him sleeping on a private jet wasn’t the most flattering) and laughed at his attorney’s jokes. It was a pretty stark contrast.

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Cohen – as he has been doing – tried to contextualize some of Bankman-Fried’s responses to Sassoon in an effort to provide alternative, more innocuous explanations for some of the problems the AUSA brought up.

There were two major gaps here: One was the fact that Bankman-Fried still hasn’t addressed some of the more bewildering back-and-forths from Monday. And on Tuesday, Sassoon asked Bankman-Fried if he asked his lieutenants any questions about the $8 billion hole in the books of his Alameda Research hedge fund after he learned about it.

“Just to be clear, it’s your testimony that while you were Alameda’s CEO, your employees were spending millions and then billions of customer funds without you knowing it?”

As with some of his responses on Monday, Bankman-Fried didn’t really have a…

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