Judge Denies Sam Bankman-Fried's Bid to Highlight 'Inconsistent Statements' by FTX Insiders Gary Wang, Nishad Singh

The duo testified at SBF's trial.

AccessTimeIconOct 25, 2023 at 3:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 26, 2023 at 2:47 a.m. UTC

Judge Lewis Kaplan has denied a bid by Sam Bankman-Fried's defense team to let them introduce proof of "inconsistent statements" from former FTX executives – and prosecution witnesses – Gary Wang and Nishad Singh by bringing two FBI agents to the stand to testify.

The defense team wanted to zero in on what Wang said about stablecoin conversions and the "allow negative" feature that let Bankman-Fried's Alameda Research borrow essentially unlimited money from FTX. They will also home in on Singh's "haziness" about June and July 2022 to federal officials prior to testifying on the stand, according to a filing sent to the court early Wednesday.

The defense attorneys want to bring two FBI agents to the stand when they present their case to discuss their notes from their conversations with Singh and Wang. The notes show that certain comments the two former FTX executives made on the stand do not match the notes of their conversations from months before the trial begin.

"On October 21, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s counsel advised the Government that it would seek to introduce evidence of Mr. Wang’s and Mr. Singh’s prior inconsistent statements," the defense filing said.

Wang testified during trial that he could not remember if he spoke to Alameda's role as a market maker, which was not what he told investigators in November 2022, the letter said. He similarly did not remember telling investigators about stablecoin conversions being part of that market making function in December of last year.

Singh made inconsistent statements about how well he remembered the events of June and July 2022, the letter said. Similarly, he did not recall telling investigators if he said he felt OK about buying a house after the collapse of FTX in January.

"Mr. Wang's and Mr. Singh's denials of having made, or proclaimed inability to recall having made, the above-noted statements go to their credibility in the case," the letter said.

Defense attorneys tried to pin Wang and Singh on these inconsistent statements during their cross examinations of the two former FTX executives, though they couldn't get into detail on those statements at the time.

The DOJ opposed the move, saying in a filing that the former executives' testimony was not inconsistent with the notes the FBI agents took.

"Perhaps most importantly, the defendant seeks to offer the interview notes indicating that Mr. Wang described the allow negative flag as being part of Alameda’s market making function, but Mr. Wang never denied, in substance, that the allow negative flag was added as part of Alameda’s market making function," the DOJ filing said about Wang's testimony.

The defense's other example was similarly not inconsistent for Wang, the DOJ filing said.

As far as Singh goes, the DOJ made similar arguments that that notes an FBI agent took are not inconsistent with what the onetime FTX executive said on the stand.

UPDATE (Oct. 26, 2023, 02:45 UTC): Adds DOJ opposition, judge's denial.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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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.