Daniel C. Silva, a previous assistant US attorney and now a shareholder at the Buchalter law firm, speculates that the defense strategy for Sam Bankman-Fried might be paving the way for an appeal, should the embattled crypto leader be convicted.
By zoning in on details, the defense seems to position themselves to argue that they were not afforded ample time and resources to construct a solid defense. This angle could cast doubt on the trial’s equity.
Silva noted, “The defense might be hinting that the trial proceedings were too hasty, compromising their ability to adequately prepare.”
He added, “They might emphasize the necessity to grasp every detail of witness testimonies because they weren’t provided enough time to mount a comprehensive defense, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution.”
The defense’s approach, especially their extensive cross-examination to validate the prosecution’s witnesses’ accounts, hasn’t sat well with Judge Lewis Kaplan. He opines that such a tactic is a misallocation of the court’s time.
Given that the trial of Bankman-Fried is slated to span six weeks, questions regarding the trial’s briskness and its potential effects on holding the jury’s focus have emerged.
Legal pundits are chiming in, stressing the importance for Bankman-Fried’s defense to judiciously utilize their time for cross-examination.
Judge Kaplan Interrupts Bankman-Fried’s Lawyer For Repititive Questioning
As Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Christian Everdell, cross-examined FTX co-founder and its former CTO, Gary Wang, he faced multiple interjections from Judge Kaplan due to his repetitive line of questioning.
Silva commented that while cross-examination serves as a platform for the defense to resonate with the jury, a strategy that resembles “death by 1,000 cuts” might not prove fruitful.
If Judge Kaplan perceives the defense’s line of inquiry as redundant or not contributing substantially, he’s inclined to step in, ensuring the jury’s time isn’t squandered.
In light of the case’s slower-than-anticipated progression, the prosecution has recalibrated their list of witnesses.
Caroline Ellison, a pivotal witness who once shared personal ties with Bankman-Fried and has since confessed to offenses connected to Alameda and FTX, is slated to testify following Wang.
Legal aficionados believe this adjustment aims to make the case more coherent and leverage the jurors’ recency of recollections related to testimonies.
In a previous court session, Wang took the stand, candidly admitting that he, along with former FTX leader Sam Bankman-Fried, engaged in wire fraud.
Wang disclosed to the jurors that he, along with Bankman-Fried, were involved in fraudulent activities and deceptive maneuvers which eventually culminated in the downfall of the cryptocurrency exchange platform.
Serving as the Chief Technical Officer for FTX and a stakeholder in Alameda Research — a cryptocurrency hedge fund launched by Wang and Bankman-Fried in 2017 — Wang confessed to his role in wire, securities, and commodities fraud.
He unveiled that the pair unlawfully siphoned a whopping $8 billion from FTX’s coffers via Alameda Research. Wang further pointed fingers at Bankman-Fried as the mastermind behind these unauthorized withdrawals.