Sam Bankman-Fried Trial Nears End After Closing Remarks

The judge overseeing the fraud trial of FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried said he will hold the jury until 8pm Thursday evening after closing arguments had concluded on Wednesday.

Closing arguments in the trial had wrapped up on Wednesday, CNBC reported. And on Thursday the US prosecution had offered its rebuttal to the defence closing arguments.

Now the trial moves to jury instructions and then deliberations, which should decide the fate of Bankman-Fried and whether he goes to prison for his role in the spectacular collapse of FTX sister and hedge fund Alameda Research late last year.

Fraud trial

During his testimony, Bankman-Fried had insisted he had acted on legal advice.

The risky move to take to the stand comes after former colleagues of Bankman-Fried had testified that he had directed them to divert customer funds to his hedge fund and lie to investors and lenders.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of fraud, money-laundering and stealing funds from FTX customers for his own use, including making property purchases and political donations.

The charges could land him in prison for more than 100 years if he is convicted.

Final stretch

Now CNBC has reported that the government is paying for pizza and Uber rides home for the 12 jurors in lower Manhattan, after the judge said he will keep them late.

No proceedings are scheduled for Friday due in part to a juror’s conflicting schedule, CNBC reported. Should deliberations last beyond Thursday evening, they will resume on Monday.

In the government’s rebuttal on Thursday morning to the defense’s closing argument, Assistant US Attorney, Danielle Sassoon reportedly reminded the jury about the heart of the case. Billions of dollars of customer money from Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange went missing.

Telling customers that their assets are safe and then taking that money and using it for personal and other company expenditures is not a reasonable business decision – but fraud, Sassoon reportedly said.

The defendant had the “arrogance to think that he could get away with fraud,” she said. He wanted influence and power, and Sassoon referred to the testimony of a witness, who said Bankman-Fried thought he could someday be president.

Sassoon responded to the defense’s argument that co-operating witnesses were incentivised to blame Bankman-Fried in order to lessen their sentence, calling those allegations “outrageous.”

Sassoon ended by telling jurors that Bankman-Fried thought he could fool customers, reporters, the public and now them.

“Don’t fall for it,” she said. “Find him guilty.”

After Sassoon wrapped up her rebuttal, the judge moved into one of the trial’s final stages, a step known as charging the jury, CNBC reported.

The multi-hour process reportedly involves reading jurors a 60-page set of instructions. When he’s done, the jury will enter deliberations until they reach a verdict.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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