The trial of the former CEO of the defunct crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), is fast approaching the verdict stage as the prosecution closed its case last week. Following this, Bankman-Fried and his lawyers are set to open their defense (or maybe not) this week in what could prove very pivotal as to the direction of the case and SBF’s fate.
What Will Sam Bankman-Fried’s Lawyers Do?
Specifically, SBF’s trial will continue on October 26, when he and his lawyers will need to inform the court on what step they intend to take next. As to the next steps they can take, they can either choose to open a defense and present witnesses and evidence to the jury. They can also choose to waive the case and not put up any defense.
They will most likely have to put up a defense, considering that the prosecution (after 3 weeks of calling almost twenty witnesses) can arguably be said to have discharged the burden of proving SBF’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. As such, it will be a huge gamble for the defense to simply waive the case and ask the jury to give a verdict solely on the evidence adduced by the prosecution.
Assuming they decide to open a defense, there is no doubt that they will constrained in the witnesses and evidence they can put forward. Regarding witnesses, the defense is already handicapped as Judge Kaplan already excluded the seven expert witnesses that it had proposed to call. He stated that their testimonies were either irrelevant or could confuse the jury.
At this point, it is also unlikely that the defense can get anyone who had close ties to the happenings at FTX to testify in their favor, as the prosecution seems to have exhausted all those witnesses. Nothing seems to be going in the defense’s favor, and it is understandable as the prosecution has been in control of this case from the get-go.
FTT token still showing strength | Source: FTTUSDT on Tradingview.com
FTX Founder’s Lawyers Can No Longer Play It Safe
In their amended proposed request to charge, SBF’s lawyers asked the jury to “examine and evaluate” SBF’s testimony (if applicable) just like they would for the testimony of other witnesses. This request is very significant, especially if the defense decides to take a gamble by allowing Bankman-Fried to take the stand, which many would argue that they should.
The odds are not in their favor, and the lawyers probably know it. In order to have any chance of changing the narrative, they might need to call the only person who had first-hand knowledge of everything that happened from the beginning, and that person happens to be Sam Bankman-Fried.
It is undoubtedly a huge gamble, but it seems like the only option they have at this point as, barring any turn of events during cross-examination, Bankman-Fried could help paint a picture that suggests that he is not the villain that his former associates have made him out to be.
If SBF takes the stand, the jury must eliminate any form of bias and examine his testimony as that of an innocent man who is simply trying to make a case for himself and not one who is ‘lying’ to save face.
Featured image from CNBC, chart from Tradingview.com