The Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing to call former FTX clients, investors, and staff as witnesses in the upcoming trial involving Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX. The DOJ aims to shed light on FTX’s handling of customer assets and how it impacted retail and institutional clients.
DOJ’s Witness Strategy
The DOJ filed a letter motion in limine on September 30, outlining its intent to summon witnesses who can provide insights into the interactions between Sam Bankman-Fried and various parties. These testimonies will also help clarify Bankman-Fried’s remarks and actions, particularly concerning FTX’s asset management practices. The focus is on the experiences of clients who entrusted substantial assets to FTX with the expectation of secure safeguarding.
Court filing in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Source: CourtListener
Challenges with Witnesses
One witness, known as “FTX Customer-1,” resides in Ukraine, raising logistical challenges due to the ongoing conflict in the region. To overcome this hurdle, the DOJ has proposed using video conferencing as an alternative. However, Bankman-Fried’s defense has not yet approved this proposal.
Bankman-Fried’s legal team, led by attorney Mark Cohen, has expressed concerns about the jury questions presented by the DOJ. They argue that these inquiries may imply guilt on Bankman-Fried’s part, potentially undermining the presumption of innocence. Furthermore, they contend that certain questions may not effectively uncover jurors’ biases, especially related to cryptocurrencies. Specific queries could inadvertently shape the jury’s perspective rather than eliciting unbiased insights, potentially compromising the trial’s fairness.
Upcoming Jury Selection
With the jury selection set to commence on October 3, followed closely by the trial itself, the spotlight is on this high-stakes legal battle. The outcome will determine the fate of Sam Bankman-Fried and the allegations surrounding FTX’s handling of customer assets, making it a pivotal moment in the cryptocurrency industry.