Sam Bankman-Fried Scores Rare Victory in Singh Cross-Examination – While Sam Bankman-Fried is not presently facing trial for campaign finance fraud, his legal team appears to be actively engaged in the matter. Bankman-Fried’s ongoing criminal trial in Manhattan involves seven federal charges.
On Tuesday, Nishad Singh, a former family friend and employee who had previously pleaded guilty to six federal charges, including involvement in a campaign finance scheme, testified as a prosecution witness. Singh testified that he allowed Ryan Salame, the former CEO of FTX, access to his bank account to make political donations, which were funded from Alameda but routed through Singh’s account.
When the defense had the opportunity to question Singh, Bankman-Fried’s legal team was notably effective in their cross-examination. Lead defense attorney Mark Cohen probed Singh about the nature of the donations, suggesting that Singh might have been more informed about the transactions than the government had portrayed. Cohen referenced Signal chats where Singh had discussed the recipients of his loans.
“I preferred not to be giving to causes” that were too far “left,” Singh said on the stand Tuesday, explaining the Signal messages where he raised concern about donations being made in his name. Michael Sadowsky, a partner of Gabriel Bankman-Fried, the brother of Sam Bankman-Fried, is associated with the political action committee known as “Guarding Against Pandemics.”
In a Signal chat conversation with Singh, Sadowsky advised Singh to consider the types of donations he would feel at ease making. Cohen also inquired about Singh’s interactions with FTX’s director of finance, Caroline Papadopoulos. In these meetings, Singh sought further details regarding the nature of the “loans” he had received from Alameda to facilitate his political contributions.
Singh confirms that while he “intended to” and “wanted to” repay Alameda, the money used to make the donations was not formally a “loan.” Cohen also pointed out that during one of the numerous meetings Singh had with the prosecutors before the trial, Singh mentioned that he felt responsible for these loans, even though there was no formal agreement in place. Bankman-Fried’s jury trial entered its third week on Monday.
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Prosecutors have informed the court that they are slightly ahead of their anticipated schedule and might conclude their case as early as next week. Bankman-Fried’s defense team has indicated that they anticipate their case will span approximately one week. However, based on court documents, it remains undecided whether Bankman-Fried will testify in his own defense.