A pair of lawyers unaffiliated with Sam Bankman-Fried or FTX are weighing in on the possibility of the former CEO testifying during his ongoing trial.
In a new interview with Laura Shin on the Unchained Podcast, Sam Enzer, partner at law firm Cahill Gordon and Reindel, says he thinks Bankman-Fried would likely only make things worse for himself by testifying.
“[What] I would say to him is: ‘we’re going to lose, we’re not winning this trial, we have to think about sentencing. If you testify, you are going to add decades to your sentence, you’re not going to change the outcome and the judge will find, in addition to being guilty, that you not only didn’t accept responsibility but you tried to commit perjury and this is a judge who will really slam you for that. It’s a mistake.'”
On the other hand, Enzer also thinks that testifying is Bankman-Fried’s only shot at acquittal – and could be a desperate hail mary attempt to lower his sentence or be acquitted.
“Now I do think his only shot of an acquittal is to testify. The evidence is too overwhelming as far as I can tell… And the crosses have just not done enough to punch holes in the government’s case. The only way to give the jury a competing theory would be for him to testify, but I think even if he testified there’s just too much going against him, there’s too much headwind and so I would say don’t do it.”
Greg Strong, partner at DLx Law, goes on to echo Enzer’s thoughts.
“I would agree with that. I think it’s going to be complicated by the fact that I strongly believe that he will want to testify. And ultimately, it’s his call so he has to take the advice of his lawyers. But just stepping back, my experience with people who have been able to accomplish widescale financial fraud, is that they do it because they can be very convincing.
And if they are very convincing to a lot of people over a long period of time, they sort of believe that they have this ability to convince people whenever they want to. I think that’s sort of going to play into this question of whether or not he will testify, and that’s why I think he will want to testify because I think he will believe that he can convince people that he was you know maybe not as involved as as is being portrayed in the government’s case right now. But I think it would be a mistake.”
Last week, the former head of Alameda Research and Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, testified that she was directed by the defendant to commit several crimes. If convicted of his charges, the former FTX executive faces decades behind bars.
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