FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried will take the stand to defend himself in his criminal fraud trial, his lawyers announced Wednesday, in a high-stakes bid to persuade jurors of his innocence.
In a direct appeal to jurors, Bankman-Fried will offer his version of events surrounding FTX’s catastrophic collapse and deny the charges he faces. His lawyers will call very few other witnesses.
Sam Bankman-Fried has insisted he is not guilty
Bankman-Fried has insisted he is not guilty despite his former inner circle pinning FTX’s demise on his secrecy, misuse of customer funds, and deception. He gave numerous media interviews, proclaiming his lack of intent to defraud.
However, prosecutors elicited incriminating revelations from ex-executives like Caroline Ellison, who claimed SBF controlled FTX like a “dictatorship” and used customer deposits to trade at Alameda Research.
While the burden is on prosecutors to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, Sam Bankman-Fried faces tough questions in the trial over allegations that he knowingly transferred customer money to Alameda and cooked FTX’s books.
Bankman-Fried’s credibility will be severely tested under cross-examination over FTX’s collapse, which triggered billions in losses.