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The High-Stakes Battle: SBF's Expert Witnesses and the Drama Unfolding in the World of Crypto

Police & Regulations
Jack Evans
Sep 1, 2023 at 07:28 pm

The cryptocurrency world is no stranger to drama, but the unfolding saga surrounding Sam Bankman-Fried, the embattled founder of FTX, is undoubtedly a headline-grabber. In a high-stakes legal showdown, Bankman-Fried is preparing to enlist seven expert witnesses for his upcoming fraud trial, with some commanding staggering hourly rates of up to $1,200. The crypto community watches with bated breath as this courtroom drama unfolds.

Among the notable experts on the list is Bradley Smith, a distinguished law professor at Capital University Law School and a former commissioner of the Federal Election Commission. Smith's court filing confirms that he will be compensated at the eye-watering rate of $1,200 per hour. Other potential witnesses are not far behind, demanding fees ranging from $400 to $1,100 per hour for their specialized insights.

These expert witnesses are poised to play a pivotal role in the trial, offering their expertise to dissect campaign finance laws, scrutinize FTX's operations favorably, and delve deep into its intricate terms and conditions. Their involvement adds another layer of intrigue to a case that has already captured the crypto world's attention.

What makes this legal battle all the more remarkable is the funding source for Bankman-Fried's defense. Despite previously claiming to have only $100,000 left in his bank account following the collapse of FTX, it has come to light that he is financing his legal defense with $10 million of company funds that he had earlier gifted to his father. A move that has raised eyebrows and left many questioning his financial dealings.

Adding to the mounting legal bills, the lawyers handling the FTX bankruptcy case have been charging the firm up to a staggering $2,000 an hour. This rate, they argue, is not uncommon in the legal industry, but it further underscores the exorbitant costs of this legal battle.

As the trial date looms, the drama surrounding Sam Bankman-Fried's legal troubles shows no signs of abating. Reports suggest that the trial, originally scheduled for October, might be pushed back to March 2024. Judge Kaplan's decision to delay aims to provide Bankman-Fried ample time to review the substantial evidence against him, but it also prolongs the crypto community's suspense.

Bankman-Fried's legal team contends that the late disclosure of significant amounts of additional evidence by US prosecutors could jeopardize his chances of a fair trial, as they face the daunting task of sifting through an additional 4 million pages of evidence introduced on August 29.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors seek to prevent the expert witnesses from testifying, alleging that their primary role would be to bolster Bankman-Fried's claims of innocence. The courtroom tension has escalated further as Bankman-Fried currently serves time in prison due to allegations of witness tampering, including leaking private journals of his former girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, to the New York Times.

Amid these challenges, Bankman-Fried's legal team has cited various reasons, including a lack of quality internet access, in their bid to have him placed under house arrest instead of in prison. The stakes are high, and the twists and turns of this legal battle continue to captivate both crypto enthusiasts and legal observers alike. As the crypto world watches, it remains to be seen how this high-stakes courtroom drama will ultimately unfold.

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