Let’s face it: the details are dangerous for Sam Bankman-Fried. The prosecutor, within the closing assertion of Nicolas Roos (pronounced “Rose,” though he will not right you if you happen to’re unsuitable, as Choose Lewis Kaplan did for a lot of the trial) in the present day, went by a whole lot of contemporaneous writing. proof suggesting that Bankman-Fried was very, very responsible of financial institution fraud and conspiracy costs at FTX. Roos made a assured, understated argument, relying closely on that proof to say that Bankman-Fried had used FTX’s buyer deposits as his personal personal piggy financial institution, funneling them by his buying and selling agency, Alameda Analysis.
He additionally identified why Bankman-Fried did it: “The defendant was grasping.”
That remaining assertion truthfully may have ended after the primary hour. The proof that Bankman-Fried was concerned – from his Google Meet with the opposite alleged co-conspirators, to the metadata linking him to numerous incriminating spreadsheets, to the funds traced to entities he managed – could be enough been. However we nonetheless obtained a number of hours, as if Roos had rented an excavator for his pile of proof and needed to make as a lot use of it as attainable.
Whereas Roos spoke, the jury was very intently targeted on him. Nobody appeared to be taking a nap. I did not see anybody trying on the clock; Many jurors took notes. Though Roos was interrupted by an AV mishap when the jurors’ screens briefly confirmed the proof within the center row, the closing arguments went easily. Roos spoke on to the jury and sometimes checked out his personal notes.
Cohen stated the prosecution tried to make Bankman-Fried a villain
Watching Roos, I began to know why the protection jumped round in time a lot. The chronological order was dangerous for Bankman-Fried: it confirmed fairly clearly that he realized issues and lied about them. The “Belongings are high-quality” tweet, despatched on November 11, was 4 hours after a Sign chat by which Bankman-Fried acknowledged an $8 billion distinction between what he owed prospects and what FTX may pay.
So I had sympathy for Mark Cohen, the protection lawyer, who did not appear to have a lot to work with. However then his closing assertion managed to make issues even worse? For starters, it appeared as if he was studying immediately from a doc he had created, quite than trying up on the jury. He spoke softly, nearly in a monotone, as if hoping to lull the jurors to sleep.
Maybe predictably, Cohen emphasised that errors aren’t unlawful. And he tried to current Alameda and FTX as professional, revolutionary corporations. It was fairly obscure precisely what they have been innovating or how, however that does not matter. It’s definitely true that FTX’s valuation was very excessive at its peak.
Cohen stated the prosecution tried to make Bankman-Fried a villain. Him then confirmed the jury plenty of pictures by which Bankman-Fried appeared dangerous: hanging out with Invoice Clinton and Tony Blair, lounging on a non-public jet, and on the Tremendous Bowl with Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom. Do not know Why Cohen selected to remind us of those pictures, however he did. Sure, the prosecutor painted an uncharitable image of Bankman-Fried, however that isn’t needed strengthen It.
Cohen launched issues that I believe have been meant to confuse the jury, however solely appeared to bore them
We came upon that Bankman-Fried labored very exhausting, twelve hours a day, which did not appear to be a lot: Bankman-Fried had beforehand said that he labored as many as 22 hours a day. However I could not let you know what precisely he was doing all that point as a result of there have been only a few testimonies left. Equally, I heard quite a bit a couple of knowledge safety coverage that the protection couldn’t produce.
In response to Cohen, the federal government’s cross-examination had been unfair to Bankman-Fried; when he answered intimately, Roos described his solutions as too impetuous, and when he answered briefly, Roos stated he sounded evasive. Look, I used to be there – and I do know the phrases salad and dodges after I hear them. It is form of my enterprise! Bankman-Fried’s solutions to questions he did not like, even whether it is said by the precise decide, weren’t good. He stated he was “removed from polished” and “was himself; he was Sam” does not actually get the job performed. It particular does not get the job performed when the Bankman-Fried we noticed on direct examination was hotter, funnier and really completely different from the one we noticed at Cross. That Bankman-Fried appeared quite a bit just like the one we knew from media appearances earlier than November 2022.
Cohen launched issues that I believe have been meant to confuse the jury, however solely appeared to bore them. For instance, throughout a protracted digression on the intrinsic worth of Alameda, I noticed a number of jurors trying on the clock at the back of the courtroom. The identical utilized to the dialogue about FTX’s threat engines.
Cohen even managed to pontificate Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison extra dependable, no much less, by defending the tweets she despatched within the November interval when FTX was failing. That is an unforced error. Undermining Ellison’s testimony – alongside that of Gary Wang, Adam Yedidia and Nishad Singh – was one of many uncommon methods I may think about working for Bankman-Fried’s protection. If Cohen says she’s reliable right here, why ought to we doubt her elsewhere?
Even probably the most gifted lawyer would battle with this case
We nonetheless want to listen to the prosecution’s rebuttal to Cohen’s arguments, akin to they have been, earlier than the case goes to the jury. However I believe even probably the most gifted lawyer would have problem with this case. The proof for the prosecution is just too overwhelming, and there may be little or no proof to assist Bankman-Fried’s account of occasions, which contradicts all three cooperating witnesses – and Yedidia, who has not been charged with something. Moreover, the final individual the jury heard converse was Bankman-Fried, and we’ve got extensively established that he likes to lie.
Crucial factor that turned clear from the closing arguments was how lopsided the case was. Bankman-Fried’s protection appears to be that he’s a pleasant man who would by no means do something to deliberately damage anybody. An introvert! Who does not use leisure medicine! When Cohen requested the jury to maintain him in thoughts as they deliberated, Bankman-Fried crumpled the water bottle in his hand and made a noise. Once I appeared again, I noticed him trying immediately on the jury, with an expression on his face that steered he was about to cry.
Bankman-Fried is true to be afraid. He introduced an apology. The Public Prosecution Service has introduced proof of cost.