In the latest proceedings at the Southern District of New York, Judge Lewis Kaplan concluded the closing arguments against Sam Bankman-Fried, former FTX executive. He moved the case forward with decisive instructions to the jury. As the founder of the now-defunct FTX exchange faces seven grave charges, the outcome now rests in the hands of the twelve jurors.
Judge Details Charges to Sam Bankman-Fried Jury
Judge Kaplan meticulously clarified the nature of counts one and three to the jury. He stressed that these counts, concerning schemes to defraud involving interstate wires, stand as independent charges. Hence, the government does not have to prove actual harm, merely that Bankman-Fried allegedly planned it. Moreover, the defendant’s duration of involvement in the alleged scheme holds no weight in these particular charges.
Significantly, Judge Kaplan responded to the defense’s argument, which had previously cited the advice of FTX counsel as a shield. He told jurors that involving a lawyer does not equate to a defense. Instead, he advised that intent can be deduced from indirect evidence.
Additionally, the judge outlined that for conspiracy charges as listed in count two and count four, evidence of a mutual agreement to break the law is sufficient. However, he cautioned jurors against conflating mere association with a crime as evidence of guilt.
Bankman-Fried Awaits Verdict with Cooperator Testimonies
The trial has seen pivotal testimonies from key former FTX executives who have pled guilty to related charges. They include Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, who have become cooperating witnesses in the trial against Bankman-Fried. Their cooperation could significantly impact the verdict, which, if against Bankman-Fried, carries a potential sentence of 115 years.
The case has now been handed over to the jury, with deliberations set to commence. The fate of Sam Bankman-Fried hangs in the balance as the jury ponders over the evidence presented during the trial. With the deliberations expected to unfold post-lunch, the anticipation in the courthouse and the crypto community is palpable.
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