- Sam Bankman-Fried took the stand in his fraud trial and deflected responsibility when questioned by his lawyers, but struggled under cross-examination by prosecutors.
- Bankman-Fried testified without a jury at first in an unusual move by the judge to review his testimony. His polished responses differed from his past uncertain interviews.
- The prosecution is nearing the end of its case against Bankman-Fried. His risky decision to testify comes after former colleagues implicated him in misusing funds.
Sam Bankman-Fried took the stand today in his criminal fraud trial related to the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange FTX. His testimony comes after a tumultuous year which saw his multi-billion dollar crypto empire unravel.
Testimony Begins Without Jury Present
Bankman-Fried began testifying without jurors present, an unusual move by the judge who wanted to review the comments first. Under questioning by his defense team, Bankman-Fried deflected responsibility to his attorneys and external counsel who he says created problematic company policies. His polished responses differed starkly from uncertain interviews he gave previously.
Cross-Examination Reveals Uncertainty
However, Bankman-Fried’s cross-examination by prosecutors was rockier. He responded to questions with uncertain, complicated answers. When asked if he recalled conversations about $13 billion missing from the company, he simply said “I don’t recall.” The prosecution’s unrelenting questions exposed the holes in his story.
Final Stages of High-Profile Trial
Bankman-Fried’s testimony previews arguments he may make when the jury returns next week. The prosecution rested its case earlier today after the defense’s motion to dismiss was denied. The judge says the trial is in its final stages and will likely conclude next week.
Bankman-Fried’s decision to testify is risky given his role in FTX’s collapse last November. Former colleagues testified he directed the misuse of customer funds and hid losses. While he has tried to frame FTX’s failure as an accident, his testimony opens him up to interrogation by prosecutors.