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Sam Bankman-Fried’s Lawyers Fight Remote Testimony By FTX Ukrainian Client

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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried

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Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers are attempting to stop a Ukrainian client of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX from testifying remotely, arguing it would reference hardships that are irrelevant to the charges and also violate their client’s Sixth Amendment rights.

In an Oct. 2 letter to the court, defence lawyers said testimony by the Ukrainian, based on circumstances created by Russia’s invasion of the country, “would serve only to elicit the jury’s sympathy and outrage.”

Bankman-Fried’s Right To Confront Witnesses

The lawyers further argued that allowing the testimony of the Ukrainian witness would violate Bankman-Fried’s rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. Under this provision, every defendant has the right “to confront the witnesses against him.”

This constitutional right strongly favours direct testimony in court, the lawyers said, adding it would violate the protections required by the Sixth Amendment because Ukraine has no extradition treaty with the US.

The objection follows a request submitted by the prosecution on Saturday, asking the court to allow the Ukrainian witness to testify remotely.

“In addition to residing abroad, one of the potential FTX customer witnesses has unique circumstances that make international travel for testimony even more problematic,” it said.

It added that the witness “lost a significant portion of his life savings that he had entrusted to FTX when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.”

Prosecutors said it’s important for witnesses from various locations to testify in order to paint a clear picture of the extensive impact of the FT collapse.

“Testimony from at least some FTX customers from varying locations, backgrounds, and with varying motivations for selecting and using FTX is relevant to establishing the vast reach that FTX — and by default, the defendant’s promotional efforts and public statements — had on the cryptocurrency community,” they said.

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