In the latest turn of events in the SBF saga, the lawyers representing the former FTX CEO are making efforts to prevent a Ukrainian client from testifying remotely at the upcoming trial. Bankman-Fried’s legal team argued that allowing the testimony of the Ukrainian witness when his country back home suffered significant losses due to the 2022 Russian invasion would merely evoke sympathy and outrage from the jury.
In a letter submitted on October 2, the lawyers of the embattled entrepreneur invoked the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause, which grants the defendant the right to face the witnesses against him. Additionally, they insisted on having face-to-face court testimony instead of remote testimony in this case.
Earlier, the Department of Justice [DOJ] had sought court permission to remotely testify about the Ukrainian witness, citing the unique challenges posed by international travel due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The identity of the witness is kept hidden, except that he is in his 20s and has reportedly lost a substantial portion of his life savings entrusted to FTX during the Russian invasion. He is deemed a crucial witness by the prosecutors.
By bringing testimonies from FTX customers worldwide, representing diverse backgrounds and motivations for using the platform, the DOJ intends to highlight the widespread impact of FTX and, consequently, Bankman-Fried’s influence within the crypto community.
On the other side, SBF’s attorneys sought clarity on several aspects related to the trial. These include the court’s decision to exclude arguments concerning FTX’s regulation within the United States and FTX.US’s compliance. Additionally, they sought confirmation of their ability to present Bankman-Fried’s charitable contributions and philanthropic activities as “prior good acts.”
The Riveting Drama of SBF’s Trial
Just the other day, Judge Kaplan, presiding over the case, made a crucial ruling by declaring that SBF and his legal team cannot initially hold FTX company lawyers accountable for decisions made during his tenure. This ruling effectively blocks the use of the “advice of counsel” defense in the defense’s opening statements, granting a request made by the prosecution.
The upcoming trial of SBF, set to commence with jury selection on October 3rd, is anticipated to be nothing short of riveting. The prevailing sentiment suggests that the odds appear heavily stacked against him at this point, making this trial a focal point of intense scrutiny and anticipation within the legal and cryptocurrency communities alike.