DoJ Requests SBF’s Expert Witnesses be Barred From Testifying

  • The U.S. Department of Justice has expressed its concerns over Sam Bankman-Fried’s seven expert witnesses, and requested they be barred from testifying on the case.
  • The DoJ claimed most of the proposed experts lacked the necessary foundation for their opinions, making them unqualified to be an expert witness.

Former CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the Federal Court in New York after pleading not guilty, 3 January, 2022.
lev radin/Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has requested that all of Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) expert witnesses be barred from testifying in court during his trial, a motion filed on 28 August shows.

According to the document, the DoJ claims that the proposed experts and their accompanying disclosures had various shortcomings and “suffer from an array of deficiencies”, which made them unqualified to testify. The DoJ said that most experts lacked the necessary foundation for their opinions, while some failed to portray the opinions of an expert “at the most basic level” in their disclosures. The DoJ wrote in its motion:

“Among other things, the proposed experts would offer legal conclusions that invade the purview of the Court and the jury, or serve no other purpose than to provide an expert patina to inadmissible hearsay testimony about the defendant’s supposed lack of criminal knowledge or intent. The Court should exercise its gatekeeping authority and preclude such impermissible expert testimony.”

At the moment SBF has proposed seven expert witnesses for his case, including Lawrence Akka, Thomas Bishop, Brian Kim, Joseph Pimbley, Bradley Smith, Peter Vinella, and Andrew Di Wu. The DoJ added that even if the experts’ opinions are disclosed, they lack the criteria for expert testimony, reliable methods, factual basis, and in some cases are irrelevant, which runs the risk it will confuse the jury.

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested following multiple charges of fraud after the collapse of the FTX Group in November, but was later released under a $250,000 million bail bond. Earlier this month, a judge decided to revoke SBF’s bail due to witness tempering, though his legal team is currently urging the district court to grant SBF a temporary release from jail to review documents ahead of his 3 October trial.

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