SBF Defense Lawyer Says It Was Impossible to Win The FTX Case

Published: Dec 12, 2023
Written By:
Vignesh Karunanidhi
Milk Road Writer

SBF’s decision to deviate from his legal team’s strategy during cross-examination became a pivotal point in the FTX trial. According to David Mills, the mastermind behind the defense, this unscripted move might have contributed to the co-founder’s legal downfall.

Mills, a seasoned legal professional, expressed his dissatisfaction with Bankman-Fried’s cross-examination skills. He labeled SBF as potentially one of the worst individuals he has seen in such a scenario.

Mills argued that pre-trial rulings by Judge Lewis Kaplan significantly limited the defense’s arguments, creating a challenging environment from the outset. The inability to present certain aspects of Bankman-Fried’s actions hindered the defense’s ability to make a comprehensive case.

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Key facts on what happened with the FTX exchange:

  • Bankman-Fried founded FTX in 2019, and it grew rapidly into one of the largest crypto exchanges, valued at $32 billion at its peak.
  • In November 2022, FTX faced a liquidity crisis and filed for bankruptcy after a failed rescue deal.
  • It was proven that Bankman-Fried secretly diverted FTX customer funds to cover losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research.

FTX trial featured some notable figures

The trial featured testimony from notable figures, including Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and FTX engineering chief Nishad Singh. Their powerful statements, accusing Bankman-Fried of directing fraudulent activities, posed significant challenges for the defense. “I thought it was almost impossible to win a case when three or four founders are all saying you did it,” Mills says.

Mills, known for his involvement in high-profile cases, faced an unusual defeat in Bankman-Fried’s trial. The grueling nature of the proceedings and the high stakes involved in the case prompted Mills to reassess his future involvement in criminal law.

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Expressing a desire to avoid deep emotional involvement in future cases, Mills highlighted the toll that the trial, coupled with his personal connection to Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, has taken on him.

“I’m not going to get myself emotionally involved on a very deep personal level in a case like this again.” “I’m just not going to do it,” Mills said.

Mills and Bankman-Fried share a longstanding friendship, with Mills even describing himself as an “amazingly steadfast friend.” However, the intensity of the trial has cast doubt on the survival of their friendship.

Sam Bankman Fried’s guilty verdict marks a significant chapter in the legal history of cryptocurrency and raises questions about the responsibilities of industry leaders.

Vignesh Karunanidhi

Vignesh has been a seasoned professional in the crypto space since 2017. He has been writing for over 6 years and specializes in writing and editing various types of crypto content, including news articles, long-form pieces, and blog posts, all focused on sharing the beauty of blockchain and crypto.

Vignesh Karunanidhi
Milk Road Writer
Vignesh has been a seasoned professional in the crypto space since 2017. He has been writing for over 6 years and specializes in writing and editing various types of crypto content, including news articles, long-form pieces, and blog posts, all focused on sharing the beauty of blockchain and crypto.