With the SBF hearing set to begin in less than a week, the court has issued guidelines for admissible evidence for both the prosecution and defence.
With a few notable exceptions, most of the requests were accepted by the government. Meanwhile, none of the defense’s requests for exclusion were accepted.
Excessive evidence defense denied
One of Sam Bankman-Fried’s recurring complaints during the pre-trial hearing was that it was impossible to adequately sort out the mountain of evidence presented by the prosecution, allowing him to properly defend himself in court. I became incapable. Naturally, if internal FTX guidelines regarding business data were consistent with other businesses the evidence file would likely be much smaller.
That being said, the government has rejected SBF’s motion to dismiss additional evidence, citing adherence to Brady and Giglio guidelines.
SBF’s legal team also requested to be allowed to include arguments in their defense strategy that bankruptcy was unnecessary. This was rejected citing, among other reasons, the SBF’s attempts to tamper with the bankruptcy estate.
The third request sought to exclude FTX.US public statements and promotional materials as evidence. This request was also rejected, because the related statements and advertisements could easily lead people to believe that they applied not only to FTX.US, but to FTX as well.
One of the good news for the defense is that the judge has decided to allow the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses regarding recreational drug use – which comes after the SBF dismissed Ellison and others as unreliable sources. This is in line with previous efforts. Out-of-court statements made by SBF co-conspirators are also off the table for the time being, as these statements were refuted without prejudice as admissible evidence.
What’s off the table for SBF?
The document opens with a salvo, confirming evidence of price manipulation, bribery, campaign financing, and attempts to disguise the evidence as admissible.
“Such evidence is inextricably linked with the evidence in connection with the wire fraud scheme alleged on FTX’s customers and is essential to completing the story of the crimes charged at trial. Evidence that the defendant spent FTX client funds on political contributions is direct evidence of a wire fraud scheme because it is relevant to establishing the defendant’s motive and alleged fraudulent intent.
The SBF is also prohibited from making any arguments based on incompetence and/or negligence on the part of investors and creditors. According to the document, the (lack of) virtue of the victim of fraud has no bearing on the state of affairs as malicious intentions on the part of the fraudster remain.
“Such evidence is routinely excluded from trials on wire and mail fraud charges because “reliance is not an element of criminal fraud,” and “unreasonableness of the fraud victim in relying (or not) on the misrepresentation.” “The intent does not affect the defendant’s culpability.”
The SBF must also refrain from making arguments that suggest its actions were in line with those of other crypto exchanges. This includes placing the blame for the FTX meltdown on the regulators and their actions.
Finally, the former FTX CEO will not be allowed to throw a pity party for himself. All testimony regarding his pre-trial detention or his charitable activities will be dismissed as irrelevant.
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