Sam Bankman-Fried's Day: A Bumpy Ride

Police & Regulations
Sep 25, 2023 at 08:57 am

Sam Bankman-Fried encountered a duo of significant legal setbacks. Yesterday marked a particularly challenging day for him. Initially, the presiding judge in his case rejected all seven of the expert witnesses he presented. The judge voiced skepticism about the qualifications of at least one of them and regarded several others as not directly relevant to the case.

Shortly thereafter, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals declined Bankman-Fried's appeal against Judge Lewis Kaplan's decision to revoke his bail. This further compounded the difficulties he grappled with throughout the day.

These setbacks primarily hinge on procedural matters. The dismissal of the appeal wasn't entirely unforeseen. Judge Kaplan even made light reference to his favorable track record with appeals during the August 11 hearing when he ordered Bankman-Fried into custody. In fact, the three-judge panel attested that they perceived no significant error, let alone an overt one, in the district court's detention decision.

Consequently, Bankman-Fried will remain in custody as his trial kicks off.

Judge Kaplan's ruling, however, ushers in a more nuanced situation. While he did grant the Department of Justice's motions to prevent all of the defense's proposed expert witnesses from testifying, there is room for negotiation. The defense still has the option to endeavor to call four of the witnesses, provided they furnish more comprehensive disclosures at least three days before their slated testimony. The DOJ also retains the right to object to these witnesses.

Although a final, exhaustive list of witnesses remains undisclosed, there is now augmented clarity regarding who we can anticipate to testify throughout the trial. This roster encompasses individuals such as Gary Wang, Nishad Singh, Caroline Ellison, an FBI agent, Andria van der Merwe (an adept in "complex litigation and regulatory investigations related to financial markets," as per her biography), and Peter Easton (a professor from the University of Notre Dame poised to expound on FTX's financials) among the initial witnesses.

If the defense successfully summons them, we may also glean insights from Thomas Bishop to counter Easton's statements, Brian Kim to potentially dispute the FBI agent's affirmations, Joseph Pimbley to retort to a DOJ witness regarding FTX's software, and Andrew Di Wu to tackle van der Merwe's testimony.

Read more: Unveiling the Cryptocurrency Heist of the Decade: North Korean Hackers' Multi-Million Dollar Trail

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