The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a motion to prevent all seven proposed expert witnesses from testifying in the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder and former CEO of the defund cryptocurrency exchange, FTX. The DOJ’s argument hinges on the inadequacy of their disclosures, the possibility of misleading information, and the relevance of their planned testimony.
DOJ Places SBF’s Experts Under Scrutiny
The DOJ’s motion, filed on August 28, is in response to Bankman-Fried’s team’s proposal for expert witnesses to testify on his behalf. The DOJ contests these selections on various grounds. Some experts, such as Lawrence Akka, a British barrister, have been deemed unsuitable due to the nature of their proposed opinions, which could intrude upon the court’s jurisdiction.
Other experts, like Brian Kim and Thomas Bishop, lack specific details about their intended testimonies, rendering them inappropriate as per legal standards.
The DOJ’s filing also emphasizes the redundancy of certain expert testimonies. For instance, Bradley Smith’s expertise on campaign finance law is deemed irrelevant since the prosecution is not charging Bankman-Fried on campaign finance-related counts.
Additionally, the DOJ argues against Joseph Pimbley’s testimony regarding FTX’s code, asserting that lay witnesses directly involved in writing the code can offer adequate insights.
Financial Services Experts and Their Suitability
The DOJ raises concerns about the expertise of financial services industry experts Peter Vinella and Andrew Di Wu. It argues that their testimony might not be directly related to the contested issues in the trial. Furthermore, it contends that some of their planned testimony could be considered improper or irrelevant.
As a result, the Department of Justice urges the court to exercise its “gatekeeping authority” to prevent these expert testimonies, asserting that some of the proposed opinions could venture into legal conclusions, encroaching upon the responsibilities of the court and the jury.
In contrast to the contested expert witnesses, the DOJ plans to rely on its own witnesses, Gary Wang and Nishad Singh, who were involved in writing FTX’s code. These witnesses are deemed competent to address relevant questions, rendering the need for separate expert testimony on the matter unnecessary.
Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial is scheduled to commence on October 3. The founder of FTX is facing various charges related to fraud and conspiracy after the collapse of his crypto empire.