SBF ‘did his best,’ defense ends trial closing remarks on emotional note

The government failed to prove “criminal intent,” in Sam Bankman-Fried trial, the defense claims

article-image

Artwork by Crystal Le

share

The defense began making their final plea to the jury Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan as Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial nears its end. 

“The government has tried to turn Sam into some kind of villain, some kind of monster,” lead defense attorney Mark Cohen began during closing arguments Wednesday. 

One of the few areas of agreement between both prosecution and defense appears to be that witnesses have been inconsistent. As might be expected, they subsequently disagree on which side is being dishonest. 

“The government’s core case” is based entirely on “witness testimony that is not consistent,” Cohen argued. 

The defense added a new point to their argument Wednesday by opting to note that the government’s core group of witnesses — Gary Wang, Adam Yedidia, Can Sun, Caroline Ellion and Nishad Singh — were among Bankman-Fried’s closest friends. 

“[But,] every movie needs a villain,” Cohen said.

Cohen took issue with the way Bankman-Fried’s appearance was mentioned throughout the case — shown via both photo exhibits and testimony — and said that “Sam [Bankman-Fried’s] appearance has nothing to do with how FTX worked.”

During his testimony, Bankman-Fried admitted that he wore shirts and a t-shirt “because he found them comfortable” and chose not to receive frequent haircuts because “I was kind of busy and lazy.” Bankman-Fried’s testimony did, however, contradict with testimony from his ex-colleague and ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison.

Bankman-Fried’s parents came in for the defense’s closing, only missing the first few minutes. By the end of Bankman-Fried’s lawyers statements, it was obvious emotions were running high. Sam was blinking quickly and looking in the direction of his parents while Cohen commented that “this has been an extraordinary journey”

“Sam did his best,” he said. Bankman-Fried built two successful companies and made mistakes. His parents approached him at the end, they all smiled and he seemed to side hug his attorney.

Cohen began his presentation after the prosecution took the podium for a little over two and a half hours Wednesday morning. If Bankman-Fried’s team can’t finish closing arguments, today the government’s rebuttal and charge instructions will be delayed until Thursday. 

In his closing statements for the prosecution, Nicolas Roos claimed that Bankman-fried “lied” to the jury, and reiterated the allegation that Bankman-Fried chose to commit fraud.

Updated Nov. 2, 2023 at 1:40 pm ET: Added quote from Cohen, context throughout.


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.

Tags

Upcoming Events

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

Screenshot 2024-05-23 091855.png

Research

Bitcoin L2s aim to boost scalability while preserving decentralization and security, unlocking a better user experience, and new avenues for Bitcoin-powered innovations. However, no existing Bitcoin L2 leverages the full security of Bitcoin.

article-image

Sponsored

The convergence of AI and blockchain on Polkadot represents a groundbreaking opportunity for investors and developers alike

article-image

The company is making public a previously private offer rejected by Bitfarms’ board of directors last month

article-image

Semler Scientific, a publicly traded medical tech company, joined MicroStrategy by buying up millions of bitcoin

article-image

As someone who’s been knee-deep in the trenches of blockchain development, I can’t help but wonder if these behemoths are really cutting it anymore

article-image

UNI and MKR are suffering from the successes of their respective protocols

article-image

Maybe there’s no silver bullet to avoiding most tokens dumping after launch…