Crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried Testifies in Trial Amid Jury Exclusion

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former crypto entrepreneur facing accusations of deception and misappropriation of funds, testified in court as the judge decided which parts of his testimony could be presented to the jury. This development occurred after Judge Lewis Kaplan sent the jury home to make this determination.

The 31-year-old defendant, known for his involvement with the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, stands accused of misleading investors and lenders and embezzling customer funds. During his testimony, Bankman-Fried asserted that his actions were in line with legal advice and good faith.

He explained decisions that were under scrutiny by the prosecutors, including his choice to enable automatic deletion of certain group chats. He claimed that this was in compliance with the record-keeping policies established by his legal team. He also mentioned that he had discussed various arrangements, such as personal loans from Alameda and its role as a “payments processor” for FTX, with his lawyers.

Mr. Bankman-Fried conveyed his reliance on his legal team in the structuring of loans and in preparing applications for his companies’ bank accounts. However, the prosecutors contested this line of argument, emphasising that it was irrelevant if the attorneys were not fully informed.

Judge Kaplan refrained from making an immediate decision regarding the admissibility of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s testimony but expressed scepticism about certain arguments. The judge is expected to rule on the admissibility of the testimony before the trial proceeds.

During his testimony, Bankman-Fried initially spoke clearly and confidently but later encountered challenges in responding to questions from prosecutor Danielle Sassoon, who inquired about his consultations with lawyers and the information he provided during those consultations.

The legal proceedings will continue, and the judge is set to make a decision on which portions of Sam Bankman-Fried’s testimony can be presented to the jury.