On Wednesday, Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said during a teleconference that their client will testify during his criminal trial.
The disgraced crypto mogul will try to convince the jury that he is not guilty of the charges of conspiracy and fraud that have been brought against him.
This announcement came as the federal prosecutors are gearing up to wind down their case. On Thursday, the prosecution will call forward their final witness.
After that, it will be the turn of the defense to present their side of the collapse of the once-leading crypto exchange, FTX.
Mark Cohen, the lead lawyer representing Bankman-Fried from Cohen & Gresser, said that the defense will first present three witnesses in the court.
Then Bankman-Fried will give his own testimony. So far, the former crypto mogul has remained silent, while his inner circle has appeared in court to testify in front of the jury.
While testifying would give the former CEO of FTX a chance to convince the jury that he is not guilty, it does not come without a number of pitfalls.
It would provide federal prosecutors the ability to submit evidence for discrediting Bankman-Fried, which they would not have been able to do otherwise.
Moreover, they would also get a chance to cross-examine him, which means they can keep him on the stand for hours and this would mean prolonged scrutiny.
According to legal experts, testifying would mean that Bankman-Fried must walk a ‘tightrope’ on the stand.
Since he has made a considerable number of public statements, federal prosecutors would have the opportunity to leverage a number of prior remarks he has made to challenge his credibility.
But, it does not come as a surprise that Bankman-Fried has decided to testify in his own trial. He had previously gone on a self-directed media tour and posted long Twitter threads regularly.
These were related to the collapse of FTX. His lawyers had dropped him two weeks after FTX’s bankruptcy filing due to ‘disruptive and incessant tweeting’.
Before Wednesday’s announcement, his defense had been hinting at the possibility of the crypto mogul testifying.
The day before, federal prosecutors had submitted a court filing in which they said that they had gotten a list of six potential witnesses, but there was no mention of Bankman-Fried.
At one point, his defense had said that they were unable to decide whether Bankman-Fried would testify or not because of the lack of access to his ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity) medication.
Early on, federal prosecutors had stated that they had a number of witnesses and evidence that they would go through to convince the jury of the misconduct carried out by Bankman-Fried.
They had said that this would take a number of weeks. In contrast, his defense had said that their case would take more than a week and a half.
The comments from Bankman-Fried’s lawyers show that he may appear in court for his testimony as early as Thursday.