Prosecutors Reject ‘Effective Altruism’ as a Viable Defense in SBF Trial

Prosecutors Reject ‘Effective Altruism’ as a Viable Defense in SBF Trial


A recurring motif during the trial has been Bankman-Fried’s commitment to effective altruism, a philanthropic ideology aimed at maximizing individuals’ impact through activities like charitable contributions and career choices.

Bankman-Fried, who is currently on trial for defrauding investors of billions of dollars, aligned himself with fellow proponents of this philosophy, including Nishad Singh, the head of engineering, and Caroline Ellison, who was not only his former girlfriend but also the CEO of his trading firm, Alameda Research.

‘Robin Hood’ Defense is Not a Legal Defense

Prosecutors are not amused by the Bankman-Fried’s allegiance to effective altruism. They stated that the disgraced crypto mogul’s attempt to assert that his decisions were guided by a desire to make a positive impact on the world is not a defense to fraud or other criminal charges.

In a letter to the court, the prosecutors highlighted that “effective altruism” cannot serve as a defense. They also added that any assertion that Bankman-Fried’s absence of wrongful intent stems from his adherence to an unconventional moral belief system regarding deceit and theft, prioritizing his personal interpretation of long-term benefits, would hold no relevance concerning the “mens rea for wire fraud.”

“The motive that defendant had or claimed to have had for committing a crime charged is irrelevant to his guilt or non-guilt. Whether this defendant committed acts in order to further a political goal or for a similar reason, for his personal gain or for the gain of somebody else, doesn’t excuse his acts if he committed them and violated the law.”

FTX Trial: Third Week

The trial that is now heading the end of its third week involved a series of witnesses and displayed dozens of pieces of evidence that spell trouble for Bankman-Fried.

According to accounts provided by his former colleagues, Bankman-Fried instructed them to access funds from FTX customers without their knowledge or consent for purposes unrelated to the exchange’s standard operations.

The lawyers representing the former FTX CEO asserted their intention to demonstrate that he acted in good faith and held a “reasonable” belief that his actions were in the best interests of his customers and investors.

The prosecution sought to challenge this assertion by highlighting instances where Bankman-Fried seemed to have participated in misleading business practices and made public statements that contradicted his private actions.

Bankman-Fried’s defense team is expected to present their case starting October 26th.


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