The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a motion to dismiss seven expert witnesses proposed by the legal team of Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the disgraced founder and former CEO of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
According to a Monday filing with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the DOJ insisted on precluding all the witnesses because their opinions are inappropriate subjects for expert testimony, irrelevant to the trial, and may confuse the jury.
DOJ Moves to Dismiss SBF’s Proposed Witnesses
The proposed expert witnesses are Lawrence Akka, Thomas Bishop, Brian Kim, Joseph Pimbley, Bradley Smith, Peter Vinella, and Andrew Di Wu. If the court permits, they will offer opinions, which the DOJ described as “inadmissible hearsay testimony,” insisting such would invade the jury’s purview during the trial.
Akka will testify on the FTX terms of service containing a contractual creditor-debtor relationship and not a declaration of trust over fiat currencies; hence, the bankrupt crypto exchange was not restricted from using the fiat currencies for any purpose. Bishop is to testify on the calculations of financial figures and metrics of FTX, Alameda Research, and other affiliated entities based on available information.
Kim is supposed to testify on “document metadata and potential or permissible inferences drawn therefrom,” while Pimbley will give his opinions on the deficiencies of FTX’s software infrastructure.
Smith, a law professor at Capital University Law School, is to provide information on the U.S. campaign finance laws, and Wu, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, will testify on common practices in the digital asset industry and a timeline of events that contributed to the crypto meltdown in 2022.
The DOJ argued that the proposed witnesses and their disclosures lack reliable basis in facts and data and suffer from deficiencies that warrant their preclusion.
SBF Seeks to Preclude DOJ’s Proposed Witness
While the DOJ seeks to bar SBF’s proposed witnesses from testifying during his upcoming trial, the defendant has also filed a motion to exclude the agency’s proposed expert witness from giving his testimony.
Peter Easton, an accountancy professor at the University of Notre Dame and a financial analysis expert, is to give his opinion on how FTX’s customer deposits and withdrawals were handled. However, SBF’s team insists that his opinions are irrelevant to the case.