The testimony against disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried from his inner circle and his own disastrous testimony key factors leading to his conviction this week, and now the Democrat super donor faces up to 100 years in prison. Breitbart News reported on eight key facts from the trial that likely contributed to the jury’s finding of guilt.
Jurors convicted Sam Bankman-Fried of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy on Thursday. Outside of the courthouse in Manhattan, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said that the government has “no patience” for fraud and corruption.
“These players like Sam Bankman-Fried might be new, but this kind of fraud, this kind of corruption, is as old as time,” Williams said.
“We respect the jury’s decision. But we are very disappointed with the result. Mr. Bankman Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him,” Bankman-Fried lead defense attorney Mark Cohen said in a statement.
Bankman-Fried has been remanded in a federal jail in Brooklyn, New York and the sentencing hearing for Bankman-Fried will reportedly start in March. A second trial for five additional charges will also begin in March.
Despite Cohen’s assertion that Bankman-Fried is innocent, the trial had many revelations that contributed to the jury finding that the former FTX CEO was guilty of fraud and conspiracy. Here are eight of the most important.
1) SBF claimed to be soulless:
The former CEO wrote in a list of of pros and cons of being in a relationship with Caroline Ellison, his on-and-off girlfriend and the head of Alameda Research, “In a lot of ways I don’t really have a soul. There’s a pretty decent argument that my empathy is fake, my feelings are fake, my facial reactions are fake. I don’t feel happiness. What’s the point in dating someone who you physically can’t make happy?” Ellison testified in mid-October that it may have looked like that they funneled money to FTX executives, who then donated millions of dollars to various politicians.
2) The math nerd defense:
The former FTX CEO’s defense argued that Bankman-Fried was simply a “math nerd” who “didn’t steal from anyone” at FTX. As Breitbart News reported:
He charged that “Sam didn’t steal from anyone. There was no theft.”
Cohen continued, “Rather, you will learn that Sam believed, reasonably believed, that loans that FTX made to Alameda were permitted and backed by reasonable security and collateral.”
3) FTX cofounder spilled his guts on fraud:
Gary Wang, one of the cofounders of FTX, said that he and Bankman-Fried committed various forms of fraud. As Breitbart News reported:
Wang testified about the relationship between FTX and Alameda, saying, “We gave special privileges to Alameda Research which allowed it to withdraw unlimited amounts of funds from the platform (FTX) and lied about this to the public.”
He explained that before FTX collapsed, Alameda had borrowed $8 billion from FTX, which was money belonging to FTX customers. Wang said that Alameda was given a $65 billion credit line which gave the hedge fund a huge advantage over other investors.
4) Bribery and Thai prostitutes were used as bargaining chips:
Alameda Research bribed a Chinese government official and even used the identities of Thai prostitutes to unlock $1 billion of frozen funds on other digital currency exchanges, according to the testimony of Caroline Ellison, the ex-girlfriend of disgraced FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. As Breitbart News reported:
To mask the bribe on official documents, Ellison listed the payment on a line item on “State of Alameda” documents as under “notable/idiosyncratic pnl stuff,” and “150m from the thing?”
Bankman-Fried wanted to use this vague language so that it could not “eventually be used against us in court.”
5) What it takes to “meaningfully participate”:
The defense argued that Bankman-Fried needed Adderall to “meaningfully participate” in the trial. As Breitbart News reported:
His lawyers have claimed that Bankman-Fried has been unable to “concentrate at the level he ordinarily would” without Adderall. Thus, if he were not able to get his requested dosage, his lawyers say that Bankman-Fried would not be able to “meaningfully participate” in being part of the defense.
Bankman-Fried has been “doing his best to remain focused during the trial,” his lawyers argued.
6) SBF ignored employee concerns about extravagant spending:
The defense argued that FTX’s investments were not “reckless” as SBF’s own employees expressed concerns about buying a $30 million penthouse in the Bahamas and investing in celebrities. As Breitbart News reported:
Nishad Singh, a former FTX employee, testified that he was worried that the company’s deal with K5, a company dedicated to promoting relationships with celebrities, would prove “toxic” to FTX’s culture.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said, “Yesterday (Monday) we were told these were all reckless and frivolous investments, and I’m entitled to show that there was way more to it than we were told yesterday.
Singh said that K5 had helped Bankman-Fried use $214 million in FTX funds to buy a stake in Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila brand when the alocholic beverage company’s assets were valued at just $2.94 million.
7) The FTX CEO claimed he only “skimmed” his company’s terms of service:
Bankman-Fried said he only skimmed FTX’s terms of service and was “not sure” who was making the decision to use FTX customer funds for investments on the hedge fund Alameda Research. As Breitbart News reported:
Bankman-Fried said he was “not sure” whose decision it was to allow Alameda Research, the hedge fund and sister company of FTX, to receive FTX customer deposits. He also said that he thought FTX’s terms of service allowed Alameda to receive FTX customer funds, although he admitted he only skimmed certain parts of the document.
FTX customer funds were stored in an “omnibus wallet” instead of being stored in individual digital currency wallets.
Bankman-Fried also denied telling Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda and his ex-girlfriend, that he hired Daniel Friedberg as the company’s general counsel because the hire would allow him to take the risks he wanted.
Judge Lewis Kaplan chided Bankman-Fried for being evasive about whether he had knowledge of Alameda’s ability to have a negative balance on its FTX accounts in May 2022.
“Part of the problem is that the witness has what I’ll simply call an interesting way of answering questions,” Kaplan said of Bankman-Fried.
8) SBF was an epic failure on the stand:
When he testified in his own defense, Bankman-Fried often used weasel words, suffered from memory loss, and gave vague answers when responding to the prosecution’s questions. As Breitbart News reported:
Bankman-Fried’s style of answering questions frustrated Sassoon so much that she snapped, “That’s not my question, Mr. Bankman-Fried.”
Sam Enzer, a former prosecutor, said that Bankman-Fried’s decision to testify is “foolish.”
By speaking to the press, he created a record of statements that the government had a year to put under a microscope,” Enzer explained.
Breitbart News will continue to report on developments in Sam Bankman-Fried legal troubles.
Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.