SBF 'Scoffed, Laughed' as His Ex Testified: Prosecutor

Caroline Ellison's testimony concluded Thursday
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
SBF 'Scoffed, Laughed' as His Ex Testified: Prosecutor
Caroline Ellison former CEO of Alameda Research founded by Sam Bankman-Fried exits the Manhattan federal court after testifying on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, in New York.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

As his ex-girlfriend and the former CEO of one of his companies testified against him in his fraud trial, Sam Bankman-Fried "laughed, visibly [shook] his head, and scoffed" multiple times, according to the prosecutor who was questioning Caroline Ellison. During a sidebar between lawyers and the judge in the case Wednesday, the prosecutor asked that Bankman-Fried's attorneys "tell him to control his visual reaction" to Ellison's testimony, the Guardian reports. The prosecutor noted that, given their romantic history, "power dynamic," and Bankman-Fried's alleged prior attempts to intimidate Ellison, his reactions could be having "a visible effect" on her.

The defense pushed back on that, saying only the judge and jury should be concerned with whether Bankman-Fried was having a visible reaction to testimony, and noting that when Ellison was asked to identify her ex in court, there was a delay before she did so. "I am offended by counsel's position, and the notion that someone who she couldn't even pick out in the courtroom, after we stipulated to this, is trying to intimidate her is ridiculous," Bankman-Fried's lawyer said. The judge asked him to speak to Bankman-Fried and make sure he wasn't purposely scoffing.

On Thursday, Ellison concluded her time on the stand with a cross-examination, and the Wall Street Journal says the defense "didn't land any major blows that undermined" Ellison's testimony, which has been labeled a bombshell. She ran Alameda, a hedge fund Bankman-Fried founded that is accused of making risky investments using funds from customers of his cryptocurrency exchange, FTX. The AP agrees, saying the defense "did little to dent the credibility of the government's key witness" with a "meandering" cross-examination "that at times left even the judge puzzled and impatient." Also Thursday, the prosecution brought out another former employee who largely backed up Ellison's testimony. (Read more on Thursday's cross-examination and testimony at the AP.)

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