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Sam Bankman-Fried's lawyer struggles in cross-examination of Caroline Ellison, govt's key witness
Sam Bankman-Fried’s defense lawyer has struggled through a meandering cross-examination of the FTX founder’s former girlfriend Thursday, keeping both the judge and the public guessing as to his strategy in countering the testimony of the government’s key witness
NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Bankman-Fried's lawyer struggled through a meandering cross-examination of the FTX founder's former girlfriend Thursday, keeping both the judge and the public guessing as to the defense team's strategy in countering the testimony of the government's key witness.
Caroline Ellison had testified over the two previous days that Bankman-Fried directed her at several times over the years to pull money from FTX customer accounts to fund investments and trading strategies at Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency hedge fund, Alameda Research. Ellison was the CEO of Alameda when it and FTX collapsed in November of last year.
Ellison spent much of her testimony walking the jury through how she repeatedly had to tap into the customer deposits at FTX to solve problems at the hedge fund or at the exchange. FTX deposits would be withdrawn to pay for new investments or political donations, or to hide steep losses on Alameda’s balance sheet, she testified. All of this was done at the direction of Bankman-Fried, she said.
Ellison, 28, pleaded guilty to fraud charges in December, when Bankman-Fried was extradited to the United States from the Bahamas. Bankman-Fried, 31, was the majority owner and CEO of FTX until the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11. He has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.