Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) had a lot going against him well before the start of his criminal trial: the ire of many in the crypto space, suspicion from United States policymakers, and negative attention from some in the media looking for clickbait angles to associate with the former FTX CEO.
None of that may have had any impact on the case his attorneys planned to present at trial, which so far doesn’t seem to have given jurors much of anything to counter the bulk of the narrative put forth by prosecutors. With few exceptions, the testimonies from witnesses for the Justice Department have been straightforward even for those unfamiliar with the intricacies of crypto trading and investments.
Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison provided statements admitting to providing fudged numbers while former FTX Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang claimed SBF directed efforts to allow Alameda to “withdraw unlimited funds.” Former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh also testified regarding the “excessive” purchases Alameda made in endorsements from celebrities.
“[Sam] said he was willing to take large coin flips,” Ellison told jurors on Oct. 10, regarding investment risks. “He talked about being willing to flip a coin and destroy the world, as long as a win would make it twice as good.”
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Through the court proceedings, defense lawyers Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell frequently called for objections and sidebars — a time when counsel can address the judge without the jury hearing — but rarely seemed to pose questions to witnesses that would significantly help SBF’s case or sway the jury. Jurors have already heard testimony painting SBF as the instigator behind efforts for Alameda to use FTX customer funds without users’ knowledge.
One of the few holes defense lawyers were able to poke in Singh’s testimony was him admitting to being a little fuzzy on details in 2022 ahead of FTX’s bankruptcy and taking his own loan to purchase a vacation home. After laying out their case in opening arguments on Oct. 4, Cohen and Everdell…