March 27, 2024
Legal Battle Unveiled: Bankman-Fried's Defense Attorney Opens Up on Trial's Overwhelming Odds
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Defending Sam Bankman-Fried: Attorney Reveals Herculean Challenges in High-Stakes Trial

The attorney in charge of defending Sam Bankman-Fried in his criminal trial has openly acknowledged the daunting nature of the case right from the start. Stanford Law School professor David Mills, in an exclusive conversation with Bloomberg, highlighted the immense challenges faced due to Bankman-Fried’s divergence from his counsel’s advice and the damning testimonies from his former associates. “I believed winning a case where multiple founders accuse you of wrongdoing was nearly impossible,” Mills shared with the publication.

Mills emphasized the uphill battle even if these testimonies were fabricated, stating that even if they’re all lying through their teeth, it’s hard to win a case like that. The attorney detailed his recommendation for Bankman-Fried’s defense, suggesting acknowledgment of the witnesses’ allegations and an attempt to convince the jury that Bankman-Fried’s actions aimed to salvage the company from bankruptcy. “I saw a compelling narrative there. However, discrediting multiple testimonies in favor of one contradicted the odds,” Mills explained. He also critiqued Bankman-Fried’s attempt at cross-examination, deeming it unsuccessful in refuting incriminating statements that ultimately led to his conviction on all seven charges.

Mills disclosed that he took on Bankman-Fried’s defense pro bono at the request of the FTX CEO’s parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, owing to their close friendship. However, he expressed reluctance to involve himself deeply in such emotionally charged cases again, particularly ones involving personal relationships.

Regarding the case’s outcome, Mills admitted to being too emotionally invested, indicating a personal aversion to similar involvements in the future. Bankman-Fried was found guilty on multiple counts, including wire fraud, securities fraud, commodities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. His sentencing, set for March 28, 2024, will be determined by Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York, who oversaw the high-profile trial.

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