In his opening remarks, Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) cannot blame the bankrupt firm’s lawyers, according to an Oct. 1 ruling.

The Judge surmised that allowing SBF to use the “advise of counsel” defense in his opening remarks risks jury prejudice.

Going by this, Judge Kaplan ruled that:

“The risk of confusion and unfair prejudice to the government were defendant to focus on the presence or involvement of lawyers at or for FTX and Alameda – without any degree of specificity about what they were present for or involved in, what their tasks were, what exactly they knew, and what the defendant knew about what the lawyers knew and were doing – is palpable.”

SBF intended to blame lawyers

In August, CryptoSlate reported that SBF intended to blame the “counsel advice” provided by the company’s internal legal team and Fenwick & West, a prominent Silicon Valley law firm, in his case against the U.S. government.

According to SBF lawyers, the disgraced FTX founder acted in “good faith” as lawyers mostly reviewed and approved decisions related to matters like using delete features and ephemeral messaging applications like Signal.

Witnesses against SBF include former FTX customers

In the latest legal developments, court documents unveiled that the U.S. Department of Justice’s list of witnesses features former FTX customers, comprising retail and institutional investors with significant holdings on the defunct platform.

Furthermore, key figures from SBF’s past, including FTX’s former Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang, former Head of Engineering Nishad Singh, and the former CEO of Alameda Research, Caroline Ellison, are set to provide testimony against him.

Per the court filing, these witnesses will testify how they “understood their relationship with the defendant and his companies and their interpretation of statements made by the defendant and his agents.”

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