In the initial stages of Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried’s six-week trial, a sharp contrast emerged in the way his defense counsel and the prosecution characterized him.
Sam Bankman-Fried is currently facing seven charges related to fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud and if he is found guilty, he could face a prison sentence of more than 100 years.
During the trial, SBF seemed fully engaged in his defense strategy, frequently reviewing documents on his laptop and those provided by his attorneys.
SBF’s several former colleagues and friends will testify against him including his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison and childhood friend Gary Wang, who were deeply involved in FTX. Other individuals in his inner circle include Nishad Singh, his brother’s high school friend.
Caroline was Ceo of the Alameda Research, the crypto hedge fund tied to FTX Gary Wang, who was the right hand of SBF, serving as chief technology officer for FTX and Alameda both. Nishad Singh was hired in Alamada Research and then headed the role of engineering in the newly launched FTX derivatives exchange.
The DOJ also plans to call former customers of FTX around the world and investors as witnesses during the SBF trial.
As his defense counsel presented their opening statement, he directed his attention towards the 12 jurors who hold the responsibility of determining whether SBF deliberately mishandled FTX customer funds or if his actions were the result of well-intentioned mistakes.
On the opening day of the trial, two witnesses took the stand: Marc Juilliard, a French trader who suffered a significant loss of 4 Bitcoins valued at over $100,000 in November 2022, and Adam Yedidia, a former employee of Alameda Research and FTX, who is also a personal friend of SBF.
To support their case, the prosecutors are relying on various pieces of evidence, including FTX’s advertising campaigns, endorsements from celebrities, and tweets from SBF. These pieces of evidence are meant to establish that SBF defrauded customers and engaged in fraudulent activities.
The defense argues that there is nothing improper about hiring someone like Tom Brady for advertising purposes and seeking bankruptcy protection during a period of market downturn.
The third day of the trial is scheduled to commence at approximately 10:00 a.m. in a federal court located in lower Manhattan.
This day will include the second round of testimony from Adam Yedidia and the appearance of Gary Wang, a co-founder of FTX who is a crucial witness in the case.