Unsurprisingly, SBF's camp is opposing the witness' testimony.
It looks like former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is doomed to come to face-to-face with some ghosts of the crypto exchange's destructive past.
The disgraced crypto founder, who has been behind bars for several weeks while awaiting his impending criminal trial, is due in court tomorrow to face a slew of fraud-related charges brought by the US government in the wake of the crypto exchange's collapse into bankruptcy. And as Fortune reports, on the eve of the trial, the prosecution and the defense are still battling over who might take the stand; the court has reportedly denied several of the defense's proposed witnesses, while the prosecution has been busy adding a number of allegedly defrauded former users to its roster.
Those new witnesses, according to Fortune, range from everyday retail investors to larger corporate interests who, per court filings, deposited money into FTX under the "expectation and understanding that FTX would custody their assets separate from those of the company, would not transfer customer assets to Alameda Research, and would not use their assets for FTX's or Alameda's own expenses."
Among these star witnesses, according to Fortune, is a young Ukranian man who apparently lost nearly all of his life's savings in the crypto exchange's crash — shortly after Russia's war on Ukraine began.
Back and Forth
Bankman-Fried's camp has unsurprisingly opposed the appearance of the Ukrainian witness — who would be speaking to the court via video call, as Ukrainian law prevents the young man from leaving the nation amid the ongoing war — given how affecting his testimony could prove to be. The human cost of the war has been vast, and losing a major portion of your savings while an illegal invasion of your country further decimates its economy is a nightmarish scenario. It would likely be hard for SBF to come out on the other side of that testimony looking like the "altruist" he once promised to be.
But the prosecution, according to Fortune, has argued in court documents that the appearance of an international investor is essential for the jury's understanding of the true breadth of FTX's "international popularity."
And even if the opposition to the Ukrainian witness is granted, the prosecution still appears to have some star witnesses up its sleeve. Per Fortune, former FTX executives who pled guilty — a group that includes former Alameda Research CEO and ex-girlfriend to SBF Caroline Ellison — could take to the stand.
In any case, at the end of the day, only one thing's for sure: this trial is bound to be a blockbuster.
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