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Exclude all Sam Bankman-Fried’s expert witnesses, DOJ asks court

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On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, calling for all seven of FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s proposed expert witnesses to be excluded from testifying in his October trial.

The proposed experts and their accompanying disclosures “suffer from an array of deficiencies that warrant preclusion of all seven witnesses,” the DOJ said. “The disclosures fail at the most basic level to set forth the opinions of the expert; and most fail to provide a basis for the opinions.”

The department went on to argue that even when opinions are disclosed, they are inappropriate subjects for expert testimony, being either without a reliable methodology or basis in facts; irrelevant, unfairly prejudicial, and confusing to the jury; or amounting to “inadmissible hearsay testimony about the defendant’s supposed lack of criminal knowledge or intent.”

The DOJ requested that the court “exercise its gatekeeping authority and preclude such impermissible expert testimony.”

The seven witnesses in question are Lawrence Akka, a British barrister; Thomas Bishop, president of consulting firm Tom Bishop & Associates LLC; Brian Kim, director at consulting firm Guidepost Solutions; Joseph Pimbley, principal at Maxwell Consulting; Bradley Smith, a professor at Capital University Law School; Peter Vinella, managing director at consulting firm PVA Toucan International; and Andrew Di Wu, assistant professor at Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

In turn, lawyers for Bankman-Fried requested to have the testimony of government expert witness Peter Easton excluded. Easton is an accounting expert, and the defense team argued that his testimony should be barred for failing to disclose any reasons for his claimed opinion, drawing conclusions outside of his expertise, or constituting impermissible expert narration of evidence.

Bankman-Fried is on trial on eight criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, commodities fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to defraud the United States and violate campaign finance laws.

The trial is scheduled for October 2, while a second trial on five further charges, including bank fraud and bribing Chinese officials, is set for March 11, 2024.

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