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SBF will testify Thursday in high-risk, high-reward play

SBF will testify Thursday in high-risk, high-reward play
Credit: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Sam Bankman-Fried will testify at his own trial on Thursday, according to his lawyer.

Bankman-Fried’s testimony would be a high-risk, high-reward play for a defendant in dire straits.

Over the past three weeks, former friends and colleagues cooperating with the prosecution have told jurors they committed fraud at his behest, stealing money from FTX customers in order to enrich themselves, invest in startups, donate to politicians and pet charities, and repay lenders.

Bankman-Fried’s testimony will last as long as those of former FTX executives Nishad Singh, Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison, his attorney, Mark Cohen, said on a conference call with Judge Lewis Kaplan and prosecutors Wednesday.

That means his direct examination, expected to begin Thursday, could continue into Friday, at which point prosecutors will have the opportunity to cross-examine the former FTX CEO.

Closing arguments could begin as early as Monday, Cohen said.

The defence plans to call at least two other witnesses: Joe Pimbley, a financial analyst at litigation consulting firm PF2 Securities, and a Bahamas-based lawyer, according to Inner City Press.

Their testimony Thursday is expected to last an hour, according to Cohen.

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Prosecutors have charged Bankman-Fried with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, among other things.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys maintain he never set out to defraud investors and customers.

He simply made honest mistakes amid a turbulent period in crypto markets and an ill-timed run on customer deposits, they claim.

If he’s found guilty by the jury, Bankman-Fried could spend decades in prison.