FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried will take the stand in his criminal fraud trial in a bid to bolster his defense against charges that he orchestrated a massive yearslong fraud, his lawyer told the court Wednesday.
Bankman-Fried could appear before the court as soon as Thursday, his lawyer, Mark Cohen, said.
The testimony by the 31-year-old one-time political megadonor will be critical to his defense against allegations by the U.S. government that he defrauded FTX customers and investors while running the one-time cryptocurrency exchange giant.
The government’s case, now in its fourth week, has hinged on the testimony of several former executives at FTX and its sister trading company Alameda Research, including Caroline Ellison, the former Alameda CEO who dated Bankman-Fried at times.
Prosecutors have charged Bankman-Fried with stealing billions from FTX customers and investors to finance real estate purchases, startup investments and political donations. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty.
The widely watched trial marks the culmination of a stunning fall for Bankman-Fried, who just a year ago was still widely seen as a heavyweight in Washington and the $1 trillion crypto market. The downfall of FTX and Bankman-Fried sent shockwaves across the nation’s capital, where lawmakers and regulators on both sides of the aisle had shown a willingness to engage with Bankman-Fried.