On Wednesday, lawyers representing Sam Bankman-Fried told jurors that the prosecutors had tried to portray their client as a ‘monster’ and ‘villain’.
They said that this was intentional because the prosecutors could not prove that Bankman-Fried had stolen customer funds from the FTX crypto exchange worth billions of dollars.
Mark Cohen, the lead attorney representing Sam Bankman-Fried, gave his closing arguments in his client’s criminal trial taking place in Manhattan federal court.
He presented the argument after the 12 jurors were urged by the prosecution to convince the former CEO of FTX, as they claimed that he had stolen $8 billion in customer funds out of greed.
It has been termed as one of the biggest fraud cases to be seen in the entire US history. Cohen stated that testimony had been elicited by the prosecutors about Bankman-Fried’s appearance and sex life.
The disgraced crypto mogul was known for wearing T-shirts and shorts and had an unkempt mop of curly hair. Cohen stated that they had used these factors to get the jury to dislike their client.
He added that the government had tried to paint their client as a monster and a villain time and time again.
Cohen asserted that a math nerd does not look like a villain, so they wrote him as a villain in the movie.
Prosecutor Nicola Roos said in their closing argument that other FTX executives were told by Bankman-Fried to alter the computer code of the crypto exchange to allow his hedge fund to siphon money.
Roos said that the defendant had built a pyramid of deceit that had been founded on false promises and lies, all to get money.
The prosecutor also added that he had also been arrogant enough to believe he could get away with it.
Jury deliberations are expected to begin on Thursday after a rebuttal argument was presented by the prosecutors.
This means that Bankman-Fried may just learn about his fate just shy of a year after his exchange filed for bankruptcy in a quick corporate meltdown that had left the financial markets in shock.
It had also wiped out his fortune, which was estimated to be around $26 billion. The defense had rested their case on Tuesday.
This was after cross-examining Bankman-Fried for a second day, a risk that he had taken by choosing to testify in his defense.
He has been charged with five counts of conspiracy and two counts of fraud and testified for three days to convince the 12 jurors that he is not guilty.
The jury listened to 15 days of testimony, which included three former close confidantes of Bankman-Fried, who had testified on behalf of the prosecution after pleading guilty.
They stated that they were directed by the FTX co-founder to commit crimes, which included helping Alameda Research take money from FTX and lying to investors and lenders about the finances.
Prosecutors claim that the money was used by Alameda to pay off its lenders and had also been loaned to FTX executives for making political donations and making speculative investments.