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Sam Bankman-Fried may have a Hail Mary if he needs to win over jurors | CNN Enterprise

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As Sam Bankman-Fried’s fraud trial enters its third week in Manhattan federal court docket, one of many greatest questions is whether or not he’ll take the stand to testify on his personal behalf — a Hail Mary that authorized consultants say could also be his greatest shot at mounting a protection.

On Monday, jurors heard from yet one more member of Bankman-Fried’s former interior circle, Nishad Singh, who, like a number of witnesses earlier than him, testified as a part of a plea deal that he dedicated numerous monetary crimes at Bankman-Fried’s route.  

Bankman-Fried, 31, has pleaded not responsible to seven federal counts that would land him in jail for the remainder of his life if he have been to be convicted and given the utmost punishment. 

The one-time crypto mogul is accused of stealing billions of {dollars} in deposits from prospects of his FTX crypto alternate and diverting these funds to purchase luxurious actual property, make marketing campaign donations and backstop losses at his different agency, a crypto buying and selling home referred to as Alameda Analysis. 

Whereas protection attorneys wouldn’t usually advise shoppers in white-collar crime trials to take the stand, the SBF trial might show (in so some ways) to be an outlier. 

In a case the place the prosecution’s proof has been robust, a defendant taking the stand is a high-risk transfer that may “completely change the dynamic of a trial,” mentioned Jordan Estes, a former federal prosecutor with the US Legal professional’s Workplace who’s now a accomplice at Kramer Levin in New York.

Whether or not or to not testify is case-dependent, and shoppers take a giant danger in opening themselves as much as cross-examination by prosecutors. But when the protection feels it hasn’t totally gotten its aspect of the story out, having Bankman-Fried take the stand could also be one of many their solely avenues left, Estes mentioned. 

After all, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys aren’t commenting publicly about their plans. (If he does testify, we doubtless received’t know till a second earlier than it occurs.) However given how damning the testimony has been thus far — and taking into consideration Bankman-Fried’s previous incapacity to maintain his mouth shut whereas beneath investigation — there may be a minimum of a good probability he goes for the Hail Mary. 

Sam Bankman-Fried, center, has pleaded not guilty to seven federal counts of fraud and conspiracy.

Within the lead-up to deciding whether or not he ought to testify, Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals are involved that he can’t “meaningfully take part” in his protection with out his full dose of Adderall to deal with ADHD and melancholy. 

The prescription medication provide has been a recurring headache for the protection. Lead legal professional Mark Cohen wrote in a letter to the decide Sunday evening that his shopper “has been doing his greatest to stay centered in the course of the trial,” regardless of not receiving his full dose of the remedy.

In brief: SBF is meant to get 4 doses of Adderall every day, however he can solely get it from the Metropolitan Detention Middle, the place he’s being held. So he’s solely getting one within the morning earlier than he’s transferred to the courthouse and one within the night. 

Cohen mentioned the Bureau of Prisons, which oversees the jail, hasn’t responded to a number of emails and voice messages to attempt to resolve the difficulty.

“As we strategy the protection case and the essential resolution of whether or not Mr. Bankman-Fried will testify, the protection has a rising concern that due to Mr. Bankman-Fried’s lack of entry to Adderall he…will be unable to meaningfully take part within the presentation of the protection case,” Cohen wrote.

At minimal, documenting the Adderall problem might assist lay the groundwork for any future enchantment. Beneath that state of affairs, the protection might level to situations on the jail — restricted entry to know-how, an unsteady provide of prescription drugs and, a minimum of initially, a eating regimen of bread, water and peanut butter to accommodate Bankman-Fried’s vegan eating regimen — as a difficulty that prevented them from mounting an intensive protection. 

In any case, it has not been a simple street for Cohen and his co-counsel. Whereas they haven’t but offered their case, Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals have repeatedly failed to stay the touchdown in terms of cross-examining the federal government’s witnesses. Final week, Cohen’s questioning of Caroline Ellison, prosecutors’ most damning witness thus far, was significantly scattershot and prompted near-constant objections from prosecutors that the decide largely sustained.

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