Sam Bankman-Fried’s Defense Strategy Draws Scrutiny From DOJ: Report

Sam Bankman-Fried's Defense Strategy Draws Scrutiny From DOJ: Report

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking additional disclosures about Sam Bankman-Fried’s planned defense. According to a Tuesday filing, the lawyers representing the agency responded to the disgraced exec’s plan to use an advice-of-counsel defense during his scheduled trial in October.

If this request is not met, the DOJ asked the court to restrict specific lines of questioning, evidence, and arguments that are deemed irrelevant to the case.

  • The development comes as the clash between the DOJ and SBF’s defense team intensified over the admissibility of expert witnesses in his upcoming trial.
  • The DOJ had raised concerns about SBF’s attempt to use attorney involvement as a defense strategy without providing comprehensive disclosure, and it requested the court to either order the former FTX boss to provide detailed disclosures or preclude certain evidence related to attorneys’ involvement at trial.

“If the defendant does not provide additional disclosures, the Government respectfully requests that the Court order the defendant to provide additional notice and produce pretrial discovery, as described above. If the defendant does not provide additional disclosures, the Court should preclude irrelevant, confusing, and prejudicial questioning, evidence, and arguments about the involvement of attorneys.”

  • In the filing, the government agency referenced a previous case – United States v. Ash – as a precedent where the court ordered the defendant to provide similar “pretrial notice” and disclosures while deeming SBF’s initial notice of intent to rely on a defense of advice of counsel as “insufficient.”
  • Earlier this week, the DOJ asked the court to exclude all seven witnesses, arguing that their opinions are inappropriate subjects for expert testimony, irrelevant to the trial, and may confuse the jury.

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