SBF, US justice department wrangle over expert witness credibility
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) are currently entangled in a legal tussle over their respective witnesses’ list, according to Sept. 11 court filings.
CryptoSlate previously reported that the DOJ and SBF had moved to disqualify all the expert witnesses called upon by each party, citing various reasons, including misleading experience and insufficient disclosure filings.
Both parties, however, have filed new defenses on why the Court should approve their witnesses.
SBF defends witnesses
According to SBF lawyers, the government’s opposition to their client’s expert witness list is overreaching because none of their proposed testimony would be prejudicial or usurp the functions of the Court or the jury.
The lawyers argued that the motions were further attempts by the government to thwart SBF’s fundamental right to present a defense or even to introduce evidence that might be inconsistent with their theories.
They added that the government was “seeing ghosts” as none of the witnesses would provide “improper opinion regarding Mr. Bankman-Fried’s knowledge of crucial facts or his intent with respect to the crimes with which he is charged.”
SBF’s witness list includes a lawyer, a law professor, a data analytics expert, a financial expert, and consultants. They would provide witness testimony on FTX operations and the firm’s infrastructure.
The government says its expert testimony is ‘necessary and appropriate.’
In its filing, the U.S. government argued that the testimony of its sole witness, Professor Peter Easton, would play a crucial role in helping the jury consider the financial evidence in the case.
Part of the filing reads:
“Professor Peter Easton will help the jury understand Alameda Research’s substantial negative balances on FTX.com, the commingling and use of FTX customer funds, and the resulting deficits in FTX and Alameda Research bank accounts and cryptocurrency wallets.”
The U.S. government added that Professor Easton had drawn his testimony from analyzing dozens of bank accounts, data from FTX’s transaction database, data from Alameda Research’s lenders, cryptocurrency pricing data, and blockchain records.
According to the government, SBF’s move to reject this testimony is based on a misreading and inconsistent with the law.
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