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Sam Bankman-Fried's Courtroom Defense in Alleged Misconduct Case: An Insider's Testimony

Sam Bankman-Fried testifies in court, denying FTX and Alameda Research misconduct allegations but admits to lobbying efforts in 2021.

Sun, 29 Oct 2023, 10:58 am UTC

The courtroom drama continued this week as Sam Bankman-Fried, the figure behind FTX and Alameda Research, defended himself in the Southern District Court of New York. Accusations loom around his alleged misconduct involving these companies during their rapid expansion phase.

On October 27, Bankman-Fried took the stand. While the initial hearings saw him fumbling before government lawyers, he seemed better composed and articulate while presenting his case before the jury. Key points from his testimony centered on refuting allegations that he influenced his close associates to make significant political donations back in 2021. He also contended that the terms of FTX encompassed transactions with Alameda Research.

The ex-CEO also shed light on his efforts in recommending enhanced hedging tactics for Alameda during 2021 and 2022, efforts that, according to him, went unheeded.

As the trial unfolds, the defense is gearing up to wrap up Bankman-Fried’s questioning by October 30. Following this, the courtroom will witness prosecution cross-examinations and concluding remarks. Prosecutors are also stirring the waters with talk of introducing a rebuttal witness in the coming week, an individual meant to challenge the veracity of another's testimony.

Should Bankman-Fried be convicted on all counts of fraud and conspiracy, he stares down a possible 115-year incarceration. He vehemently negated allegations of guiding ex-FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame and former director of engineering Nishad Singh in channeling millions into political endeavors.

OpenSecrets data reveals Singh’s contribution of $8 million and Salame's $10 million to federal campaigns during the 2022 election cycle, using loans from Alameda Research. While dismissing claims of directing these contributions, Bankman-Fried acknowledged the importance of lobbying in the U.S. capital, emphasizing its role in shaping crypto regulations in 2021.

Prosecutors, however, are painting a different picture. They argue Bankman-Fried funneled over $100 million from FTX customer deposits for political purposes ahead of the 2022 midterms.

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