Ahead of Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) trial, which begins next week, Judge Lewis Kaplan, the Judge in charge of the case, has laid out certain orders in response to the Prosecution and Defendant’s in limine motions.
Illegal Campaign Scheme Integral In Sam Bankman-Fried Trial
As part of its in limine motion, the prosecution requested that the court allow it to admit certain evidence as direct evidence of the charged conduct, including the evidence of SBF’s alleged illegal campaign finance scheme.
These motions are usually filed before the trial commences to include or exclude specific arguments or evidence that either party might present during the trial.
In response, the court agreed to this request. Judge Kaplan stated that the alleged illegal campaign finance scheme “is direct evidence of the charged offenses.” He drew a correlation between this offense and the charge of wire fraud on FTX customers and deemed it “necessary” to complete the story of the wire fraud charges. He says this evidence will establish SBF’s “motive and allegedly fraudulent intent.”
The prosecution had accused Sam Bankman-Fried of embezzling customer deposits and using some of these stolen funds for campaign contributions in a bid to curry political favors from these politicians. He is alleged to have contributed a total of $100 million in political donations to both Democratic and Republican candidates. This was made possible with the illegal use of straw donors.
The Prosecution had stated that some of these straw donors included SBF’s close associates and fellow FTX executives. As such, Judge Kaplan stated that any evidence of this would show that a “mutual trust” existed between SBF and his alleged coconspirators, including Nishad Singh and Ryan Salame.
This line of argument ultimately lays a foundation for the Prosecution to portray these persons, who happen to be their key witnesses, as credible witnesses who knew almost everything, if not everything, about SBF’s alleged illegal activities at FTX.
SBF and his close associates (some of whom are key witnesses) are rumored to have used several recreational drugs during their time in the Bahamas. However, the court denied the Prosecution’s motion to prevent SBF and his lawyers from cross-examining their witnesses about their drug use. Also, Sam Bankman-Fried and his lawyers must inform the court and government before asking such questions.
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Prosecution Blocks SBF’s Attempt To Reveal “Good Acts”
In another motion, the Prosecution had requested that the court preclude the defendant from introducing certain evidence. This includes evidence of Sam Bankman-Fried’s prior commission of “good acts” or any other evidence of his non-criminal activities in an attempt to disprove his guilt of the crimes he has been charged with.
The prosecution was looking to ensure that SBF and his lawyers did not use these acts to establish his innocence of the crimes he has been charged with. It is believed that such evidence can confuse or influence the jury when deciding. The Judge granted this request and precluded the defense from referring to any of SBF’s charitable ventures or philanthropy.
The judge also precluded SBF and his lawyers from tendering any evidence concerning the FTX founder’s “family background, health, age, pretrial detention” as they are not relevant to the crimes he is being charged with.
Meanwhile, the court denied Sam Bankman-Fried’s in limine motion for an order directing the government to disclose all ‘Brady’ materials in its possession. Judge Kaplan stated that the government has acknowledged its disclosure obligations under the Brady rule and clarified that it will comply with them.
The Brady rule mandates the Prosecution to provide the defense with any evidence that could discharge the latter of any guilt or fault.
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