Sam Bankman-Fried scores rare victory in Singh cross-examination

Lead defense attorney Mark Cohen pressed Nishad Singh on his political donations — funds that originated from Alameda and were passed through his bank account


Artwork by Crystal Le


Sam Bankman-Fried may not currently be on trial for committing campaign finance fraud, but his defense team is certainly interested in the topic. 

The criminal trial of Bankman-Fried, where he faces seven counts of federal offenses, continued in Manhattan on Tuesday. Nishad Singh, a former family friend and employee, testified as a witness for the prosecution. Earlier this year, Singh pleaded guilty to six federal charges, including one relating to his role in a campaign finance scheme. 

Singh authorized Ryan Salame, former CEO of FTX, to access his bank account and make political donations, he testified on Monday. The donation funds came from Alameda, but were passed through Singh’s bank account, Singh said.

When the defense got the opportunity to challenge Singh’s narrative, Bankman-Fried’s team came on fairly strong. This marked a seemingly rare success in their cross examination.

Lead defense attorney Mark Cohen pressed Singh on the nature of the donations. He hinted that Singh was not as in the dark as the government had made it seen. Cohen pointed to Signal chats where Singh chimed in on the beneficiaries of his loans. 

“I preferred not to be giving to causes” that were too far “left,” Singh said on the stand Tuesday, explaining the Signal messages where he raised concern about donations being made in his name.  

Michael Sadowsky is a partner of Bankman-Fried’s brother, Gabriel Bankman-Fried, at the political action committee named Guarding Against Pandemics. He confirmed with Singh via Signal chat that he should think about what types of donations he would “comfortably” want to make.

Cohen also asked Singh about meetings he had with FTX’s director of finance, Caroline Papadopoulos. During these meetings, Singh asked for more information about the nature of the “loans” he had received from Alameda to make these political donations. 

Singh confirms that while he “intended to” and “wanted to” repay Alameda, the money used to make the donations was not formally a “loan.” 

Cohen adds that during one of his many meetings with prosecutors ahead of the trial, Singh told them he was “on the hook” for these loans, despite no formal agreement ever being made. 

Bankman-Fried’s jury trial started its third week on Monday. Prosecutors have told the court that they are slightly ahead of schedule, and expect to rest their case as soon as next week. Bankman-Fried’s defense has said they expect their case to take around a week. However, according to court filings the team is still determining whether Bankman-Fried himself will take the stand.

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.


Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2023

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research Report Cover Vertex.jpg


The proliferation of new perp DEXs has led to fragmented liquidity across various DEXs and chains. Vertex, known for its vertically-integrated DEX that includes spot, perpetual, and integrated money markets, is now tackling cross-chain liquidity fragmentation through horizontal integration with the launch of new Edge instances. Vertex's integrated offerings and cross-margined account structure amplify the benefits of new instances: native cross-chain spot trading, optimized cross-chain basis trading, consistent interest rates, reduced bridging friction, and more.


Partnering with EtherFi and Angle, the fully on-chain perp DEX features bespoke collateral



Gavin Wood introduced the next evolutionary step for the Polkadot network: the Join-Accumulate Machine, or JAM


The side events were the places to be at Consensus 2024, according to attendees


Also, who’s come out swinging in the spot ether ETF fee war — and who could undercut them


I know it is not in their nature, but US regulators could learn a lot by researching the digital asset frameworks that overseas regulators have already gotten right


Also, the ETF hype train can count out at least one member