The Department of Justice in the United States has requested that all expert witnesses associated with Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO and co-founder of the now-defunct FTX exchange, be barred from testifying during his upcoming trial scheduled to begin on October 3, 2023.
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DOJ moves to block Bankman-Fried's witnesses. DOJ Seeks To Bar Seven Expert Witnesses From Trial
On August 28, the United States Department of Justice filed a motion to exclude all seven of Sam Bankman-Fried's expert witnesses from testifying in court. These individuals include Lawrence Akka, Thomas Bishop, Brian Kim, Joseph Pimbley, Bradley Smith, Peter Vinella, and Andrew Di Wu. The DOJ has stated that there are flaws in the expert witnesses' disclosures, as some of the information provided does not adequately explain their opinion and reasoning, which is required by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16. DOJ moves to block Bankman-Fried's witnesses.
The DOJ argued in the motion:
Where the defendant does disclose the expert’s opinions, the opinions are inappropriate subjects for expert testimony, lack a reliable methodology or basis in facts and data, or are irrelevant, unfairly prejudicial, and confusing to the jury.
The Department of Justice has raised concerns regarding the testimony of Peter Vinella, a managing director at an expert services and consulting firm. The department has cited various reasons for their call, including Mr. Vinella's lack of expertise in cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency markets, or crypto companies despite being presented as an experienced figure in the financial services industry. The Department of Justice has urged the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to exercise its safekeeping authority and preclude the expert testimonies of SBF's proposed witnesses.
A Change Of Approach From Sam Bankman-Fried?
Sam Bankman-Fried, who is facing seven fraud-related charges, has been jailed after his bail was revoked. His defense counsel is attempting to gain some ground in court after their request for his release was denied on weekdays. On August 28, Bitcoinist reported that Bankman-Fried's lawyers wrote to Judge Lewis Kaplan, the presiding judge in his case, stating that the DOJ had sent an additional four million pages of discovery. The lawyers argued that Bankman-Fried would be unable to review the documents before the trial begins in less than six weeks. They asked the court to prohibit the prosecutors from using specific evidence during the trial and requested temporary release for their client to prepare for the trial. They also argued that the initial allowance of two visits per week recently approved by the court will be insufficient for him to review the voluminous discovery.
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