September 4, 2023 at 14:09 GMTModified date: September 4, 2023 at 14:09 GMT
September 4, 2023 at 14:09 GMT

Bankman-Fried files to sideline damaging evidence in upcoming fraud trial

SBF is putting up a fight in his upcoming trial. The lawyers representing SBF have filed court papers opposing several motions by prosecutors.

Bankman-Fried files to sideline damaging evidence in upcoming fraud trial

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is putting up a fight in his upcoming trial for fraud and conspiracy charges. The lawyers representing the FTX founder have filed court papers opposing several motions by federal prosecutors to introduce specific evidence in the case.

His attorneys declared that prosecutors should not be allowed to introduce evidence on the alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for bribing officials in the Bahamas, illegal campaign finance donations, and bank fraud connected to FTX’s U.S. affiliate operation.

According to them, the inclusion of such evidence would be “irrelevant, prejudicial, and confuse the jury”. The defence also argued that prosecutors should not be permitted to “cherry-pick” portions of FTX’s terms of service to admit as evidence while excluding other parts. In saying this, the lawyers stated that the full terms of service document is relevant.

The other parts of the evidence that have been asked to be removed were the few unspecified FTX commercials that advertised the exchange. Even assuming the commercials are admissible, commercials pertaining to FTX.US are irrelevant and highly prejudicial and should therefore be excluded, said the court document. As per the defence, the Government offers no basis to assert that commercials about FTX.US are relevant to the charged fraud. It further said-

“Even if the advertisements had some minimal relevance, it would be substantially outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, and waste of time. The Government has not charged or alleged any fraud in connection with FTX.US. Introducing allegedly misleading advertisements about FTX.US would be highly prejudicial and confusing to the jury because it would give the incorrect impression that the Government is charging Mr. Bankman-Fried with defrauding U.S.-based customers of FTX.US”

The defence also expressed their disapproval of the prosecution’s “effort to admit broad categories of hearsay evidence” without providing specifics. It then called on the prosecution to include defence evidence related to industry norms, Bankman-Fried’s intent to repay customers, involvement of legal counsel in company matters, and other topics relevant to the defence.

Recently, SBF’s defence also claimed that he acted in “good faith” when directing funds from the crypto exchange to his hedge fund Alameda. This was revealed in a letter that addressed to the judge which claimed Bankman-Fried to be following the advice of in-house lawyers and law firm Fenwick & West when setting up the loans to Alameda.

In the latest court papers, his lawyers further alleged that the federal prosecutors were unfairly attempting to include evidence that was only favourable to their case. In doing so, they excluded exculpatory evidence central to Bankman-Fried’s defence, which infringes on Bankman-Fried’s right to present his account of the events in front of the jury.

The FTX founder now awaits his trial which is set to begin on 2 October. He faces seven counts of conspiracy and fraud including wire fraud, securities fraud, commodities fraud and money laundering, all for which he has pleaded not guilty.