SBF looks to Anthropic investment as Judge denies cross examination of Gary Wang
Lawyers for SBF look to introduce investment in Anthropic to court case as prosecutors file to block move
In the ongoing criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, attorneys for the FTX founder filed new letter motions related to the cross-examination of two key prosecution witnesses.
In a letter Monday, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers asked Judge Lewis Kaplan for permission to question Gary Wang on the involvement of attorneys in structuring loans from Bankman-Fried’s trading firm Alameda Research to Wang personally. The defense argues the loan details are relevant to rebutting federal charges that Bankman-Fried tried to conceal the source of funds through money laundering.
Wang, FTX’s co-founder and former chief technology officer, testified last week that either Bankman-Fried or lawyers at the company presented him with loan paperwork to sign. Questioning on the lawyers’ role would support Bankman-Fried’s claim he acted in good faith, his attorneys said.
A docket entry indicates the judge denied the testimony request, likely because Wang had already completed his testimony.
Prosecutors filed their own letter Monday seeking to block the introduction of the current value of Bankman-Fried’s investment stake in artificial intelligence startup Anthropic, which has grown substantially since he invested last year. They argue it could improperly suggest victims may be repaid.
Bankman-Fried’s team contends in response that the evidence rebuts prosecution claims his investments were risky or losing money. His attorneys agreed to a limiting jury instruction on the purpose of the testimony.
“To the extent the Court has concerns that evidence concerning Anthropic’s current value may improperly suggest that customers, lenders, and investors would be repaid, the defense has no objection to the Court providing an appropriate limiting instruction.
In another request Tuesday, the defense asked to cross-examine Caroline Ellison on attorneys’ involvement in setting auto-deletion policies for messages at FTX and Alameda. This could rebut allegations that Bankman-Fried sought to conceal wrongdoing, they said.