Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal defense team has made a last-ditch effort to introduce English law as a key element in the ongoing trial, seeking to influence the jury’s decision in the case involving the FTX exchange founder. This move aims to potentially secure a “not guilty” verdict for Bankman-Fried on certain fraud charges.
The defense’s argument revolves around the interpretation of FTX’s terms of service, which, according to the defense, are governed by English law. The proposed jury instruction emphasizes that FTX’s relationship with its customers is subject to these terms, which, in turn, are bound by English law. It is essential to note that under English law, the terms of service do not establish a trust or fiduciary relationship between FTX and its customers, nor do any subsequent representations alter this legal framework.
The defense’s strategy challenges the prosecution’s assertion that for misappropriation to occur, there must have been a trust, fiduciary, or similar relationship between FTX and its customers. By introducing the English law perspective, the defense aims to refute this claim and alter the jury’s understanding of the case.
FTX founder’s trial – DOJ response and legal strategy clash
However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not yet responded to this latest filing. In a previous filing, the DOJ indicated its stance against focusing solely on the terms of service and English law, arguing that this approach misrepresents the charges against Bankman-Fried.
The prosecution asserts that the jury should consider a broader scope of evidence, including Bankman-Fried’s past statements and the common understanding of cryptocurrency customers. Throughout the trial, prosecutors have examined FTX’s marketing practices and their potential impact on customers, shedding light on the multifaceted nature of the case.
Judge Lewis Kaplan, presiding over the trial, has informed both parties that he intends to hold a jury charge conference once they both rest, which may occur as soon as Wednesday. This conference will provide the prosecution and defense with the opportunity to present their respective jury instruction proposals, allowing them to engage in substantive discussions regarding the case’s instructions.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s defense team’s latest move to emphasize the role of English law in FTX’s terms of service marks a critical juncture in the ongoing trial. The defense argues that the absence of a trust or fiduciary relationship under English law should influence the jury’s verdict, potentially leading to a “not guilty” outcome on some of the fraud charges. The prosecution, however, contends that a more comprehensive examination of the case is warranted, including factors such as Bankman-Fried’s statements and customer perceptions. As the trial unfolds, the legal arguments continue to evolve, and the final decision rests in the hands of the jury. Judge Kaplan’s upcoming jury charge conference will play a pivotal role in shaping the trial’s ultimate outcome.