Sam Bankman-Fried, the former head of the crypto exchange FTX, has been found guilty of securities fraud and six other criminal charges by a New York jury. This verdict represents a significant downfall for the once highly-regarded figure in the finance world. Bankman-Fried could now face a lengthy prison sentence, with the possibility of spending decades behind bars. The jury reached their decision after only five hours of deliberation.
Commenting on the case, XRP lawyer John Deaton suggested that the government had turned three significant witnesses by offering them shorter prison terms. In Sam’s case, the prosecutor did not extend a plea deal, leaving him with three choices.
Deaton suggested that the third option might have been the best course of action, as Bankman-Fried likely knows how he circumvented rules and may be aware of politicians who were complicit in these violations.
However, by choosing the second option, he essentially ensured a prison sentence at least twice as long as he could have received with the first option.
The three options, according to Deaton, were:
- Plead guilty, admit to all charges, and rely on the court’s mercy.
- Plead not guilty, testify, and hope to convince at least one juror to vote not guilty, resulting in a hung jury, and then negotiate a deal.
- Approach the Department of Justice (DOJ), plead guilty, and offer to cooperate by revealing campaign finance violations involving politicians he donated to, potentially receiving a lighter prison term.
He wrote on X, “But Sam knows how he circumvented the rules and I bet he knows some names of politicians who knew he was breaking the rules. You don’t get the type of access this guy got without greasing some palms.”
Over a four-week trial, prosecutors tried to show that Bankman-Fried was behind a major financial fraud. They explained in a crowded courtroom how he and his top team moved billions of dollars from FTX customers to Alameda Research, a company he also ran.