Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, testified in court on Thursday as the judge reviewed his testimony and determined what he will be allowed to tell the jury. Bankman-Fried is set to testify on Friday, explaining how his cryptocurrency empire grew and eventually collapsed, leading to significant losses blamed on his extravagant spending. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan initially planned to conduct a hearing and make rulings on Friday, but decided to review the admissibility of Bankman-Fried’s testimony first.
After sending the jurors home for the day, Kaplan informed them that they would likely receive the case in the first few days of next week, stating that they were now in the home stretch. Prosecutors have presented their case, including financial records and testimonies from witnesses, since early October.
Following the prosecution’s rest, Bankman-Fried’s defense lawyers requested that Kaplan acquit him due to insufficient evidence. However, the judge rejected the request. Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges, is accused of diverting billions of dollars from clients and investors for risky investments, luxury purchases, publicity campaigns, and political and charitable donations.
Throughout the three-week trial, Bankman-Fried has remained silent while members of his executive inner circle testified against him. These executives claimed that Bankman-Fried instructed them to spend billions of dollars from FTX customer accounts through his hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas and extradited to the United States in December 2020, a month after his businesses collapsed. He was initially released on a $250 million bond but was later jailed in August after allegedly trying to influence potential trial witnesses.
Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s former girlfriend and the former CEO of Alameda, testified against him, expressing relief after the collapse of the businesses and blaming Bankman-Fried for corrupting her moral compass. She also admitted to doctoring financial balance sheets to hide that Alameda borrowed around $10 billion from FTX customers.