Sam Bankman-Fried’s defense seeks to block Ukrainian witness testimony

  • One of the key arguments put forth by SBF’s legal team was based on the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause.
  • They also aimed to obtain clarification regarding the court’s previous decision to preclude arguments related to FTX’s regulatory status.

In a new development in the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), his defense team is actively working to prevent a Ukrainian customer from testifying remotely. They argue that such a testimony could potentially manipulate the jury’s emotions, rather than focusing on facts and evidence.

In a letter submitted on 2 October, they firmly opposed the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request to allow an FTX [FTT] customer, who resides in Ukraine, to provide remote testimony.

Defense Lawyers argue remote testimony violates Sixth Amendment rights

One of the key arguments put forth by Bankman-Fried’s legal team is based on the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause. This clause, which has deep roots in American legal principles, provides every defendant with the right “to confront the witnesses against him.”

According to his lawyers, this constitutional right leans heavily toward face-to-face, in-court testimony.

The DOJ, on the other hand, had previously sought permission from the court for the Ukrainian witness to testify remotely. They argued that the witness faced unique challenges due to their location in Ukraine.

The losses incurred during the Russian invasion of 2022 was also cited as another challenge. This individual is a young man who entrusted a significant portion of his savings to FTX. He represents a compelling perspective in this high-profile case.

The DOJ emphasized the relevance of diverse customer testimonies from various geographical locations and backgrounds. Such testimonies, they asserted, would help establish the extensive impact of FTX, as well as Bankman-Fried’s promotional efforts and public statements, within the cryptocurrency community.

Legal battle poised for interesting turn

Seeking further clarity, Bankman-Fried’s legal team filed another letter on Monday. They aimed to obtain clarification regarding the court’s previous decision to preclude arguments related to FTX’s regulatory status within the United States and the compliance of FTX.US.

Additionally, Bankman-Fried’s defense wanted to ascertain whether they could present evidence related to his “prior good acts.” These include various charitable contributions and philanthropic endeavors. They also sought clarity on the admissibility of evidence concerning asset recovery in the FTX bankruptcy proceedings.

Furthermore, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys requested the court’s guidance on the admission of evidence regarding an alleged illegal campaign finance scheme.

The presiding judge had ruled that SBF cannot use the “advice of counsel” argument in his opening remarks. This decision aims to prevent prejudicing the jury from the outset.

SBF’s defense had intended to argue that his actions were based on legal advice from FTX’s counsel, Fenwick & West, and were carried out in good faith.

Prosecutors plan to present testimony from customers, investors, and co-conspirators adversely affected by FTX’s collapse, including former FTX co-founder Gary Wang and others.

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