Sam Bankman-Fried Defense Has 6 Witnesses to Open With: DOJ

The DOJ filing did not name any of the potential defense witnesses, and it's still unclear whether Bankman-Fried himself will testify.

AccessTimeIconOct 24, 2023 at 11:32 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 25, 2023 at 6:28 p.m. UTC

Sam Bankman-Fried's defense team has six potential witnesses it may call on when it opens its defense after the prosecution finishes presenting its case this week, the Department of Justice said in a Tuesday filing.

The DOJ also said it now only intends to call a single witness when the trial resumes Thursday, and asked Judge Lewis Kaplan to require the defense team to begin presenting its case right after.

The court had previously agreed to let the defense start after lunch on Thursday, when the DOJ expected to call two or three witnesses, including an FTX customer and investor. The defense has proposed six witnesses to start its case, the filing said. The DOJ filing did not name any of the potential defense witnesses, and it's still unclear whether Bankman-Fried himself will testify.

A Monday filing previously said the defense intended to call PF2 Securities employee Joseph Pimbley as an expert witness on financial flows.

The filing also suggested the defense may have a short case, though it's unclear whether the defense actually expects to rest early or is just saying it may.

"In addition, the Government respectfully requests that if the defense rests on Thursday or Friday morning, that the Court hold a charge conference on Friday afternoon, so that the parties can proceed to closing arguments on Monday morning," the filing said.

A separate filing from the defense pushed back on one of the DOJ's proposed jury instructions, "because it presupposes an intent to steal from customers, which Mr. Bankman-Fried did not possess."

In a late Tuesday filing, the DOJ pushed back against the defense letter, saying the wording choices Bankman-Fried's team requested were confusing or might be inaccurate on the issues.

(Wed, 1:55 UTC): Updates article to state the DOJ has pushed back against the defense letter.


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.