Day 2 of Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial: 5 things you should know

The jury has heard opening statements from the prosecution and the defense, as well as some witness testimony


Artwork by Crystal Le


Wednesday commenced the second day of Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial. He stands accused of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. 

The prosecution and the defense both delivered their opening statements following the selection of a jury. Here’s what you need to know:

1. The prosecution wants the jury to believe Bankman-Fried is the villain

Prosecutor Thane Rehn spoke at the podium and told the jury that one year ago, Bankman-Fried was on top of the world. 

He hobnobbed with celebrities like Tom Brady — whose commercial endorsing FTX was later shown to the jury — and politicians like former President Bill Clinton. He was wealthy, and he had a lot of power and influence, Rehn said. 

All of that was built on lies,” Rehn concluded. 

All while he was living his best life from 2019 to early 2022, Bankman-Fried was knowingly and actively stealing FTX customer money, Rehn claimed.

That money was spent on real estate in the Bahamas, political donations, and perhaps most crucially, used to pay off outstanding loans to creditors of Alameda Research, his crypto hedge fund, according to the prosecution.

2. The defense says the state’s conception of Bankman-Fried is “cartoonish”

Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, described his client far differently than the jet-setting, beachfront property-owning criminal that the government believes him to be. 

“Sam,” as Cohen referred to Bankman-Fried, is just a “math nerd who didn’t drink or party,” he told the jury. 

Bankman-Fried “didn’t defraud anyone” or “intend to defraud anyone,” Cohen added.

Read more: Sam Bankman-Fried ‘lied to the world,’ prosecution posits in opening statement 

Instead, he acted in “good faith,” executing sound business decisions prior to and during the collapse of FTX – which Cohen alluded to as the “storm” – that were reasonable at the time. 

3. Bankman-Fried’s friend turned foe 

The government’s second witness – former FTX developer Adam Yedidia – may have come as a disappointing shock to Bankman-Fried, who once again appeared in court in an apparently oversized suit. 

Yedidia, Bankman-Fried’s former college roommate and “close friend,” told jurors he quit his position at the exchange in early November 2022 after another co-worker told him that FTX customer funds had been used to repay Alameda creditors. 

Yedidia was offered immunity in exchange for his cooperation with the prosecution and truthful testimony. The government will continue their questioning of Yedidia and the defense will have the opportunity to cross-examine on Thursday. 

4. The state accuses Bankman-Fried of being secretive

It’s not just the allegation that Bankman-Fried stole from his customers that concerns the prosecution. It’s that he allegedly tried to engage in a cover-up to conceal potential crimes. 

Don’t feel left out. Keep up with news from Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial.

Rehn claimed that the former FTX CEO “secretly” gave Alameda “special access” to money individuals had put into FTX accounts. As part of FTX’s code, Alameda was granted “unlimited withdrawals” from the exchange, Rehn alleged. 

This claim is the bedrock of the state’s case against Bankman-Fried: that he covertly stole money without his customers’ consent. 

5. What to expect going forward

Now that the second day of trial is in the books and witness testimony has begun, the government will be in the driver’s seat for much of the trial going forward. The next two witnesses for the government are former Sequoia partner Matt Huang and co-founder of FTX Gary Wang. Their testimony is expected to last until the end of this week.

As the judge explained to the potential jurors during jury selection and now the assembled jury during trial, the burden of proof is on the state. Therefore, the state will be calling witnesses first. Of course, the defense has the right to cross examine them to try to poke holes in their testimony.

The defense is under no obligation to call witnesses and can simply rest after the prosecution finishes presenting evidence. However, they can present their own evidence if they so choose.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

MON - WED, MARCH 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience:  Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats  Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts   Grow your network […]

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



Akash is a general-purpose compute platform with GPUs, storage, LLM training or inference, and validator hosting through its two-sided marketplace.


The SEC could allow half a dozen or more such funds to launch at once, Ark Invest CEO says


2023 saw a decline in a16z crypto funding, but the behemoth VC firm teased what it’s excited for next year


“Iran Unchained” launched a new version of its grant platform to make donations to activists easier


The stablecoin marks the first time a regulated European bank has made a euro-pegged stablecoin available on a crypto exchange


Build it and they will come, perhaps, but making crypto easier to use is turning out to be just as important


Amid moves by Itau Unibanco and Nubank, the country could serve as “a proof of concept” for TradFi-crypto integrations, industry research exec says