Sam Bankman-Fried Trial: Legal Experts Debate His Chances Of Freedom

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The trial of the former CEO of defunct crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), is set to begin on October 4 (Jury selection coming up on October 3). In line with this, legal experts have weighed in on how the case could play out once the trial commences.

From The Prosecution’s Angle

In an interview with Decrypt, these legal experts mentioned that the Prosecution’s proactiveness shows they are confident of securing a conviction. Usually, the prosecution takes time to gather as much evidence as possible before moving to trial to ensure that it secures a conviction. 

However, in this case, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has moved swiftly to kickstart the trial, which suggests that they have all the arsenal to put Sam Bankman-Fried in jail for a long time. 

Daniel C. Silva, a former federal prosecutor, stated that the case could be “pretty overwhelming” for the jurors, especially if it is laid out the same way as in the indictment. Per the latest indictment, Sam Bankman-Fried is charged with seven fraud-related crimes. 

However, several revelations have come to light since FTX’s collapse and SBF’s arrest, which could undoubtedly be too much for the Jury to handle. Meanwhile, the prosecution will have to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the jury members will have to determine SBF’s guilt of each charge based on the evidence adduced.

Kramer Levin, another former federal prosecutor, told Decrypt that Caroline Ellison would be critical to the case as she could bring a lot of “dramatic moments” to the trial. Most importantly, her testimony would tell the story and grab the jury’s attention when the prosecution puts its case forward.

Judge Kaplan, the judge in charge of the case, had alluded to the fact that the focus would be more on the elements of fraud than the crypto element.

However, Brian Newman, an attorney at the law firm Dykema Gossett, mentioned that the prosecution must give the jurors an idea of what these crypto tokens are if it wants to win the case. He stated that if the jury doesn’t know what is being talked about (crypto tokens), it will be hard to “convict beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Sam Bankman-Fried Needs To Tread Carefully

Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers are expected to argue that their client acted in good faith and relied on the counsel of his lawyers. However, Paul Tuchmann, a partner with law firm Wiggin & Dana, noted that this defense could be a “tougher sell,” considering that Judge Kaplan had denied Sam Bankman-Fried’s request to access documents from Fenwick & West LLP (FTX’s primary counsel).

They will also be looking to discredit the prosecution’s witnesses, including Ellison. However, Silva has warned that the defense must be careful when doing this as it could backfire, especially when dealing with an “unsympathetic jury.”

According to the former prosecutor, the jury could look at the defense with “disdain” if they were attacking Ellison or anyone else who has admitted guilt. If that happens, the jury could see every evidence presented in the “worst possible light” against the defendant. 

FTX FTT Token price chart from (Sam Bankman-Fried Trial)

FTT flounders as trial sets to begin on Tuesday | Source: FTTBUSD on

Featured image from CNBC, chart from

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