FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried fights against prosecutors’ evidence in upcoming fraud trial

Lawyers for FTX founder Samuel Bankman-Fried filed court papers Friday, Sept. 1, opposing several motions by federal prosecutors to admit specific evidence at his upcoming trial on fraud and conspiracy charges.

Bankman-Fried’s attorneys argued prosecutors should not be allowed to introduce evidence related to charges previously dropped or severed from the case. Those include alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for bribing officials in the Bahamas, illegal campaign finance donations, and bank fraud connected to FTX’s U.S. affiliate operation.

The defense said admitting such evidence would be “irrelevant, prejudicial, and confuse the jury.”

Prosecutors also should not be permitted to “cherry-pick” portions of FTX’s terms of service to admit as evidence while excluding other parts, the lawyers said. They argued the full terms of service document is relevant.

Additionally, the defense objected to the prosecution’s “effort to admit broad categories of hearsay evidence” without providing specifics.

Bankman-Fried’s team argued the prosecution should be barred from excluding defense evidence related to industry norms, Bankman-Fried’s intent to repay customers, involvement of legal counsel in company matters, and other topics relevant to the defense.

They contended many of the prosecution’s requests were premature and overly broad. The defense said such matters should be denied or limited until specific evidence is presented at trial.

Bankman-Fried, 30, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he illegally diverted massive customer deposits from FTX to make lavish real estate purchases, donate money to politicians, and make risky trades at Alameda Research, his cryptocurrency hedge fund trading firm.

The defense argued federal prosecutors are unfairly attempting to admit only evidence favorable to their case while excluding exculpatory evidence central to Bankman-Fried’s defense. His lawyers said this infringes on Bankman-Fried’s right to present his version of events to the jury.

Bankman-Fried faces trial in October in Manhattan federal court. He is accused of defrauding investors and FTX customers out of billions of dollars. He was extradited from the Bahamas in December.

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