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SBF Mulls Paying Expert Witnesses $1,200 Per Hour

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried seeks expert witnesses for his fraud trial, offering $1,200 per hour for their services.
  • US federal prosecutors aim to block these witnesses, alleging their intent is to establish Bankman-Fried's innocence.
  • Bankman-Fried, currently serving time in prison, faces mounting tension as his October trial date nears.
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Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is reportedly seeking to hire expert witnesses to testify on his behalf. He plans to pay them a significantly high hourly rate for their services.

Their job would entail providing evidence about campaign finance laws, the operations of FTX, and favorably scrutinizing its terms and conditions.

SBF Plans to Enlist Seven Expert Witnesses

According to an August 31 report, SBF is considering enlisting seven expert witnesses in his upcoming fraud trial. He allegedly plans to compensate them with fees of up to $1,200 per hour.

The news comes after reports revealing the possibility of SBF’s October trial date moving to March 2024. Judge Kaplan has indicated that this potential change aims to provide SBF additional time to thoroughly examine the mounting evidence against him. SBF’s lawyers recently contended that US prosecutors disclosing significant amounts of additional evidence this far into the legal proceedings could impede SBF’s chances of a fair trial.

On August 29, the prosecutors reportedly added an extra 4 million pages of evidence to the stack. SBF’s lawyers assert that the “government cannot be allowed to dump millions of pages on the defense less than six weeks before trial.”

Reportedly, US federal prosecutors are aiming to prevent the expert witnesses from testifying. They allege that SBF’s purpose of hiring them is to support his claims of innocence.

“Federal prosecutors are seeking to block the witnesses however, arguing the experts will only provide testimony about Bankman-Fried’s “supposed lack of criminal knowledge or intent” gleaned from talking to others.”

To learn about the downfall of FTX, read BeInCrypto’s guide: FTX Collapse Explained: How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Empire Fell

SBF Developments In Recent Times

According to the report, the use of expert witnesses by both defendants and the prosecution is a common practice.

Recently, the tension has been mounting as SBF approaches the October trial date.

He is serving time in prison following prosecutors’ efforts to revoke his bail due to accusations of witness tampering towards his former girlfriend, Caroline Ellison.

SBF reportedly leaked Ellison’s private journals to the New York Times. Prosecutors allege that SBF was attempting to intimidate her as she is a significant witness to the prosecution.

Meanwhile, SBF claims that being prison-bound is not helpful for court preparation. His legal team has cited everything from lack of quality internet access to PowerPoint in an attempt to see SBF spend his time before trial on house arrest. At one point, his lawyers even suggested that he spend just weekends in jail.

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Ciaran Lyons
Ciaran is a cryptocurrency journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He particularly enjoys writing about CBDC developments and the practical implementations of cryptocurrency in real-world scenarios. He has also appeared across major television networks in Australia including Channel Ten, Channel Nine and SBS TV. Prior to his foray into cryptocurrency, Ciaran worked as a presenter on national radio station Triple J.
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