After a month-long trial, a federal jury delivered guilty verdicts on all counts brought against SBF by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with FTX’s demise.
Throughout the trial, SBF had vehemently pleaded not guilty to the five counts of conspiracy and two counts of fraud. He and his legal defense team tried to persuade the jury that the $8 billion shortfall was a mistake and that he had not deliberately defrauded customers.
SBF maintained that he believed FTX’s use of customer funds for investments through its sister company, Alameda Research, was legal. He also pointed fingers at the legal advice he received while managing the company and claimed ignorance of certain liberties granted to Alameda during trading on FTX.
However, after reviewing the evidence and hearing SBF’s testimony, the jury unanimously concluded that he had intentionally defrauded customers, bringing guilty verdicts on all seven counts following a four-hour deliberation process.
The conviction puts SBF at risk of a sentence of up to 115 years in prison, with U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan scheduled to announce the exact verdict on March 28, 2024.
Additionally, SBF is expected to face a different set of charges related to bank fraud conspiracy and foreign bribery in March.
SBF’s Legal Defense Plans to Pursue an Appeal
In response to the guilty verdict, Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal defense, led by Attorney Mark Cohen, expressed their intent to appeal the ruling. While acknowledging respect for the jury’s decision, Cohen stated, “Mr. Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to fight the charges against him vigorously.”
The chances of overturning a unanimous jury decision through an appeal are relatively slim. Furthermore, legal experts have emphasized that SBF’s decision to testify during his trial may further decrease the prospects of a successful appeal.