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‘He lied to get customers’ trust’: Prosecution makes closing argument against SBF

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The government presented its rebuttal against Sam Bankman-Fried on Nov. 2 in response to statements made by his defense during the closing arguments a day earlier.

A jury of 12 will receive final instructions in the Southern District Court of Manhattan on Nov. 2. The jury will receive pizza and transportation if their verdict comes after court hours, according to District Court Lewis Kaplan.

As the trial of @SBF_FTX draws near its conclusion, the prosecution and defense lay down their final arguments. https://t.co/csFJ5AAZxm

— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) November 1, 2023

Speaking on the court, ​​U.S. Assistant Attorney Danielle Sassoon claimed prosecutors “met the burden” of proving that Bankman-Fried is guilty of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

According to Sassoon, the former FTX CEO gave customers, investors and the media the false impression that assets held at FTX were safe and that Alameda Research had no involvement with the funds.

Sassoon pointed to Bankman-Fried’s tweets and public statements made in the months and weeks before FTX’s collapse, including claims that customers’ funds were held in segregated accounts when, in reality, they were being used by Alameda Research.

Sassoon also refuted the defense’s argument that Bankman-Fried made public appearances in the media after FTX’s collapse, claiming his interviews and tweets used to make him look reliable at a time his exchange wasn’t able to pay back its customers.

“He didn’t want to be a criminal on the run,” she noted, adding that Bankman-Fried had the ambition to be president of the United States. “He lied to get customers’ trust.”

The prosecution went over spreadsheets to refute claims that Bankman-Fried didn’t know about Alameda’s multi-billion-dollar line of credit and repayment of lenders with customer funds, adding that Bankman-Fried thought customer funds were his “piggy bank.”

According to Sassoon, the defense’s assertion that the government painted Bankman-Fried as a monster during closing arguments the day before was “desperate.”

“They were acting at the defendant’s direction,” Sassoon said about Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang and Nishad Singh.

Bankman-Fried’s former inner circle cooperated with the government and testified in the case. During closing arguments, defense attorneys tried to disqualify their testimony, claiming it was made under a strict cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors.

The defense, according to Sassoon, wanted the jurors to believe that Bankman-Fried was clueless about what was going on with Alameda and FTX. “It’s absurd,” said the U.S. attorney, claiming the defense’s claims contradicted the evidence.

Related: Sam Bankman-Fried ‘doubled down’ by buying Binance’s stake in FTX — US prosecutors

The FTX strategy, Sassoon said, was to not hire a risk officer to ensure nobody found out about deleted messages and embezzlement.

“He knew what he was doing was wrong; that’s why he never hired a risk officer,” she told the jury.

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