Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the indicted founder of the
cryptocurrency exchange FTX, will testify in his own defense. This move,
announced by his attorney during a recent conference call, paves the way for a
potentially intense cross-examination by federal prosecutors who aim to
scrutinize his role in the collapse of the crypto exchange.
According to a report by CNBC, SBF’s decision to
take the stand follows a pivotal development in his case involving a resolution
of a dispute regarding his access to attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD) medication. This issue had previously
raised concerns about his ability to actively participate in his own defense.
SBF’s decision to testify became possible only after
his legal team, in collaboration with the prosecution, ensured that he had an
adequate supply of his ADHD medication. The defense’s case will commence
immediately after the conclusion of the government’s arguments, which is
scheduled for Thursday morning.
The prosecution has one more witness, a Federal Bureau
of Investigation agent, who will serve as a summary witness. In addition to SBF,
three other witnesses are expected to take the stand as part of the defense’s
strategy. These developments followed earlier objections by SBF’s legal team to
begin their defense immediately after the government rested its case.
This bold move is considered a risky maneuver as it
exposes SBF to cross-examination by federal prosecutors. Until now, the
prosecution has called several of SBF’s top executives to testify, including
Nishad Singh and Caroline Ellison, his one-time romantic partner and the former
CEO of Alameda Research.
SBF’s Witness Lineup
During the same teleconference where SBF’s decision
to testify was disclosed, his defense team revealed their plans to call only a
limited number of witnesses, including financial services expert Joseph Pimbley
of PF2 Securities, Coindesk reported. A Bahamian lawyer may also take the stand
in support of SBF, as disclosed by lead defense attorney Mark Cohen.
On the prosecution’s side, Assistant U.S. Attorney
Nicholas Roos announced their intention to wrap up witness testimony shortly
after Thursday’s court session begins, with just one more witness, FBI agent
Mark Troiano, to be called.
Amidst the legal turmoil, FTX has disclosed an amended proposal aimed at refunding a significant portion of the holdings owed
to creditors, potentially reaching up to 90% of the funds that customers held
at the exchange