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September 22, 2023

U.S. DOJ Wins Motion To Prevent Proposed Sam Bankman-Fried Witnesses From Testifying in FTX Trial

By Mehron Rokhy

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has successfully won a motion to prevent Sam Bankman-Fried’s proposed expert witnesses from testifying in the upcoming FTX trial.

A new court filing reveals that Bankman-Fried’s proposed witnesses either failed to meet the standards of being able to testify or were excluded due to the government’s request.


In the document, the DOJ won a motion to exclude testimony from law professor and former Federal Election Commission Chairperson Bradley Smith, saying that his testimony aims to instruct the jury on issues of the law or is irrelevant.

The government further won a motion to exclude Lawrence Akka, a British lawyer, from testifying as his testimony would include commentary on FTX’s terms of service. According to the law, experts may not offer “legal opinions as to the meanings of contract terms at issue.”

Another witness denied by the court due to the prosecution’s request was Dr. Peter U. Vinella, a financial industry consultant. He was denied because he would only provide background information which was found to have “limited to no bearing on the issues in this case” and could potentially mislead the jury.

Furthermore, some of the defense teams’ proposed witnesses failed to live up to the standards of being admitted and were rejected. These include data analytics and forensics expert Brian Kim, Andrew Di Wu, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, and Thomas Bishop, who works for a consulting firm.


However, the judge said that it may be possible for the defense to call Bishop and Kim to rebuttal the testimony of Peter Eason, a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Bankman-Fried is accused of defrauding investors and mishandling billions of dollars worth of customer funds. His trial is set to commence in October of this year. If convicted, he faces decades behind bars.

Last week, prosecutors made objections to Bankman-Fried’s lawyer’s proposed questions for potential jurors. Bankman-Fried’s parents are also being sued by FTX over alleged misallocation of funds.

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