Crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX and Alameda Research, is set to testify in his own criminal trial, according to his defense attorney Mark Cohen. Bankman-Fried’s testimony will come after three defense witnesses have been called. The trial, which has garnered significant attention due to explosive testimonies from former colleagues, will see Bankman-Fried take the stand to address allegations of misappropriating billions of customers’ funds. Bankman-Fried’s legal team has chosen to put him on the stand as their final defense option, following damaging testimonies from his ex-girlfriend and former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wand, and FTX director of engineering Nishad Singh.
Bankman-Fried, once known as the “golden boy of crypto,” founded FTX and Alameda Research, both of which are now bankrupt. He has been accused by his inner circle of orchestrating a scheme to misuse customer funds, investors’ money, and lenders’ funds. The decision to have Bankman-Fried testify is unusual, as it is generally avoided in criminal trials due to the potential harm it may cause to the defense. Bankman-Fried’s testimony is expected to begin on October 26 and may last a similar length to that of Caroline Ellison’s direct examination.
Bankman-Fried, who previously resided in luxurious penthouses, has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn during the trial. His lawyers have cited intermittent access to necessary computer files as a challenge in preparing for the trial.