- SBF trial has reached the jury deliberation stage after rebuttal summation by prosecutor Danielle Sassoon.
- The prosecutor has urged the jury to “find him guilty,” referring to SBF.
- The jury could give its verdict either on Friday or Monday, but the Bahamas angle of bigwig privileges remains unresolved.
- There could be a second trial pursuing the China bribe and political contribution charges.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) multiple counts of charges in various categories – including fraud against FTX customers, fraud against FTX investors, fraud against Alameda's lenders, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud – have brought to light many discoveries, with the previous session giving both desks [defendant and prosecutor] a chance to give their closing arguments. The onus is now on the jury.
SBF trial endgame: Find him guilty, says prosecutor, as jury deliberations begin
After two weeks in court, the SBF trial could be nearing the end following testimonies from Sam Bankman-Fried’s close associates, including former FTX CTO/co-founder Gary Wang, FTX director of engineering Nishad Singh, and of course, Caroline Ellison, the previous CEO of Alameda Research and ex-girlfriend of the defendant.
The trial is now heading to the jury deliberation stage after the rebuttal summation and Judge Lewis Kaplan reading the jury its charge.
Judge Kaplan: On the verdict form, if you find the defendant guilty of Count 7, money laundering, you must fill out if concealment money laundering, wire fraud money laundering, or both.— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) November 2, 2023
In the rebuttal summation, prosecutor Danielle Sassoon urged the jury to find SBF guilty. Her statement comes after saying that SBF’s assertions were all just a made-up story, especially when he said he found a $10 billion liability.
Sasson also urged the jury to consider the testimonies of the “cooperators”, referring to the co-executives mentioned above. Comparing their accounts with that of SBF, the prosecutor claims that the defendant’s account of how the incidents took place “was polished on direct,” meaning it was likely a total fabrication of events as his story changed.
The jury could give its decision either on Friday, November 3 or on Monday, November 6, with the broader cryptocurrency community hoping for a guilty verdict. Notably, the odds favor the prosecution, especially considering SBF’s defense team, led by Mark Cohen, did not appear to present a strong enough argument to sway the jury. In the end, Cohen’s strongest argument was that the government was trying to present Bankman-Fried as a cartoon when he was an innocent businessman who never even played poker.
The prosecution on the other hand brought in a strong fight, with Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Roos hammering away at the defendant over multiple days.
Bahamas angle remains unresolved
Nevertheless, there is still an unresolved angle to the charges levied against SBF, particularly where it involves the Bahamian government and the Chinese bribes. For the Chinese angle, Sam Trabucco would be an interesting witness, having exited the company in August 2022 and lying low since then.
Regarding the Bahamas, SBF’s last-minute offers to the country’s bigwigs, including giving the prime minister special seats at the FTX arena and allowing the country’s attorney general to access funds at FTX when everyone else could not.
These, among other privileges accorded to the Bahamian government officials, leave that element of the case pending. They could still warrant a second court case, according to Mathew Russell Lee of the Inner City Press.
Notably, the judge has not hinted or alluded to any such thing whatsoever.
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