FTX co-founder Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried could potentially pay his expert witnesses over $1,000 an hour to testify on his behalf as his fraud trial approaches. The trial is set to begin on October 2, 2023, and SBF may call seven expert witnesses to testify.
According to court filings, some of the witnesses, such as former Federal Election Commission Chairperson Bradley Smith, will charge SBF’s legal team $1,200 an hour to testify about issues such as campaign finance laws and straw donors. Smith has explicitly stated that his compensation is not contingent on the outcome of the case.
Other expert witnesses, including Lawrence Akka and Joseph Pimbley, could charge 800 British pounds ($1,000) and $720 per hour respectively, should they testify, as indicated in the court filings. The hourly rates for SBF’s potential expert witnesses range between $400 and $650.
On the other hand, Peter Easton, an accounting professor at the University of Notre Dame and a proposed witness for the prosecution, will charge $1,175 per hour according to court data.
These court filings were part of a motion by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to ban all seven expert witnesses from testifying for SBF in court. The DOJ argues that the proposed experts and their disclosures “suffer from an array of deficiencies” and fail to provide a basis for their opinions.
The news comes as the deadline for SBF to request a postponement of the trial approaches. If the request is filed and approved by September 1, the trial will be moved to March 11, 2024.
SBF currently faces 12 criminal charges, which will be spread across two trials scheduled to begin on October 2, 2023, and March 11, 2024. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
The potential compensation for expert witnesses in this case highlights the significance and complexity of the trial. Both the defense and prosecution are seeking expert opinion to support their positions, with hourly rates reaching up to $1,200.
It remains to be seen whether the court will allow these expert witnesses to testify, as the DOJ has raised concerns about the reliability and relevance of their opinions. The outcome of this trial will have significant implications for SBF and the FTX exchange, as it will determine the legal consequences of the allegations against him.
As the trial date approaches, attention will be focused on the courtroom proceedings and the arguments presented by both sides. It will be a critical moment for SBF and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole, as the outcome of this case could set important precedents for future legal interpretations of fraud in the crypto space.
Regardless of the trial’s outcome, it is certain that the proceedings will be closely watched by the crypto community and beyond, as it has the potential to shape the future of regulation and accountability in the industry.
In conclusion, SBF’s upcoming fraud trial is gaining attention due to the potential compensation for expert witnesses and the ongoing legal battle between the defense and the prosecution. The trial will determine the legal consequences of the allegations against SBF and could have significant implications for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.