Sam Bankman-Fried Dodges Prosecutors’ Questions

During his trial, Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, faced a rigorous cross-examination led by Prosecutor Danielle Sassoon. Throughout the four-hour session, Bankman-Fried often resorted to evasive language, using phrases like “I don’t recall,” “I’m not entirely sure,” and similar expressions to deflect direct answers. This approach elicited frustration from Sassoon and groans from the courtroom attendees.

Sassoon questioned Bankman-Fried about his previous statements to the media regarding Alameda Research’s relationship with FTX, where he described Alameda as a “neutral piece of market infrastructure.” Bankman-Fried, however, gave ambiguous responses and often claimed memory lapses.

Additionally, Bankman-Fried admitted to having only superficially reviewed his platform’s terms of service and was vague about using FTX customer funds for investments in Alameda Research. This behavior led to repeated admonishments from Judge Kaplan to answer the questions directly.

Sam Enzer, a former prosecutor, critiqued Bankman-Fried’s decision to testify as unwise, noting that it provided the government ample material to scrutinize. Bankman-Fried is facing serious charges, including seven counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering related to the alleged misuse of FTX customer funds for various purposes, including covering Alameda Research’s losses and personal expenditures. Despite pleading not guilty, he risks a sentence of up to 110 years.

It took the jury just over four hours to deliver their verdict in Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial. The atmosphere was tense as Bankman-Fried’s parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, entered the courtroom, visibly apprehensive. Bankman wrapped an arm around Fried, who buried her face in her hands while seated on the wooden benches.

Standing to face the verdict, Bankman-Fried listened as the first count of wire fraud was declared “guilty,” a moment that visibly shook his parents. His father was seen bending forward in distress while his mother covered her face, possibly to conceal her tears. Barbara Fried comforted Joseph Bankman throughout this emotional scene by gently rubbing his back.

The trial’s outcome found Sam Bankman-Fried, the embattled founder of the now-defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange, guilty on all seven counts, including wire fraud. The charges stemmed from allegations by the Securities and Exchange Commission that FTX was fraudulent from its inception, with a multi-billion-dollar shortfall caused by Bankman-Fried’s misappropriation of customer funds.