DOJ Files Motion To Stop Sam Bankman-Fried’s Witnesses From Testifying

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked for all expert witnesses of Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the former CEO and co-founder of the now-defunct FTX exchange, to be prevented from testifying in his upcoming trial, which is set to commence on the 3rd of October, 2023.

DOJ Seeks To Bar Seven Expert Witnesses From Trial

In the latest motion filed on Monday, August 28, the United States Department of Justice has called for precluding all seven of Sam Bankman-Fried’s expert witnesses from testifying in court. These proposed witnesses include Lawrence Akka, Thomas Bishop, Brian Kim, Joseph Pimbley, Bradley Smith, Peter Vinella, and Andrew Di Wu.

Based on court documents, the DOJ has identified flaws in SBF’s expert witnesses and their disclosures. Specifically, some of the disclosed information does not adequately explain the expert’s opinion and reasoning, as mandated by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16.

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.

Notably, the Department of Justice moved against the testimony of Peter Vinella – a managing director at an expert services and consulting firm, citing various reasons for the call. 

One of the stated grounds is that while Mr. Vinella is presented as an experienced figure in the financial services industry, he lacks sufficient expertise in cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency markets, or crypto companies to opine as an expert.

The Department of Justice 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Sam Bankman-Fried is charged with seven fraud-related offenses and is in jail after his bail was revoked. Following the rejection of their request for their client’s release on weekdays, SBF’s defense counsel seems to be taking a different approach to gain some from the court.

On Monday, August 28, Bitcoinist reported that Bankman-Fried’s lawyers wrote to Judge Lewis Kaplan – the presiding judge in SBF’s case, revealing that the DOJ had sent an “additional four million pages of discovery.”

The lawyers claim that Bankman-Fried cannot finish reviewing the documents before the trial commences – less than six weeks from now. For this reason, they asked the court to preclude the prosecutors from using specific evidence when the trial starts.

Furthermore, SBF’s lawyers requested for the temporary release of their client to prepare for his trial, arguing that the initial “two-times a week” allowance recently approved by the court will be insufficient for him to review the “voluminous discovery.”

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