The defense began making their final plea to the jury Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan as Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial nears its end.
“The government has tried to turn Sam into some kind of villain, some kind of monster,” lead defense attorney Mark Cohen began during closing arguments Wednesday.
One of the few areas of agreement between both prosecution and defense appears to be that witnesses have been inconsistent. As might be expected, they subsequently disagree on which side is being dishonest.
“The government’s core case” is based entirely on “witness testimony that is not consistent,” Cohen argued.
The defense added a new point to their argument Wednesday by opting to note that the government’s core group of witnesses — Gary Wang, Adam Yedidia, Can Sun, Caroline Ellion and Nishad Singh — were among Bankman-Fried’s closest friends.
“[But,] every movie needs a villain,” Cohen said.
Cohen took issue with the way Bankman-Fried’s appearance was mentioned throughout the case — shown via both photo exhibits and testimony — and said that “Sam [Bankman-Fried’s] appearance has nothing to do with how FTX worked.”
During his testimony, Bankman-Fried admitted that he wore shirts and a t-shirt “because he found them comfortable” and chose not to receive frequent haircuts because “I was kind of busy and lazy.” Bankman-Fried’s testimony did, however, contradict with testimony from his ex-colleague and ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison.
Cohen began his presentation after the prosecution took the podium for a little over two and a half hours Wednesday morning. If Bankman-Fried’s team can’t finish closing arguments, today the government’s rebuttal and charge instructions will be delayed until Thursday.
In his closing statements for the prosecution, Thane Rehn claimed that Bankman-fried “lied” to the jury, and reiterated the allegation that Bankman-Fried chose to commit fraud.
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Follow Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial with the latest news from the courtroom.