The former FTX billionaire had his debut performance on the witness stand a day earlier, but jurors were not present for his comments.
Sam Bankman-Fried began his testimony in front of jurors Friday by saying he made “mistakes” at his now-fallen crypto behemoth FTX, and “a lot of people got hurt.”
The former billionaire had his debut performance on the witness stand a day earlier, but jurors were not present for his comments.
His opening comments came after the judge overseeing his criminal trial ruled earlier Friday that his defense can include testimony about the role lawyers played in scrubbing Signal chats at FTX. But Judge Lewis Kaplan prohibited the defense from bringing before the jury wider-ranging testimony about FTX’s lawyers.
“I held the hearing yesterday so that I could hear from Mr. Bankman-Fried’s mouth what he had to say,” Kaplan said Friday. “The witness had his shot.”
This line of questioning was previewed Thursday, after Kaplan sent jurors home for the day. Under questioning from his defense team on Thursday, the former FTX CEO made it clear he wanted to direct blame toward former FTX General Counsel Dan Friedberg and outside law firm Fenwick & West.
Bankman-Fried argued Thursday he felt comfortable with how FTX was operating because his attorneys had a role in everything from the company’s terms of service to the setting up of North Dimension, a subsidiary of Alameda Research – Bankman-Fried’s trading firm – intended to secure bank accounts and process payments.
But the judge didn’t grant a advice-of-counsel defense across all the topics sought by the lawyers defending him now at the former billionaire’s trial. When it comes to talking about lawyers, the judge will only let jurors hear about FTX’s document retention policy.
That policy is relevant because Bankman-Fried said it let the company and its employees automatically delete mountains of internal chats on messaging apps like Signal. But it is also contentious.
With the judge’s decision out of the way, Bankman-Fried began testifying in front of the jurors who will be asked to decide his fate on fraud and conspiracy charges.
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