Sam Bankman-Fried’s former business associate Caroline Ellison appeared today for her third day of testimony in the former FTX CEO’s criminal trial.
With prosecutors having wrapped their questioning of Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s counsel, Mark Cohen, began his cross-examination today. Reports from the inside the courtroom, provided live by New York media outlet Inner City Press, paint a picture of a courtroom that is bewildered and exasperated by Mr. Cohen’s tactics.
Cohen’s questions were largely repetitive of materials covered in prosecution’s examination. The prosecutions repeatedly challenged the relevance of the questions and engaged in multiple sidebars with the judge and the defense’s request. These interruptions led Judge Kaplan to express his wish to reduce the frequency of these sidebars, thereby maintaining the flow of the proceedings.
Judge Kaplan reportedly expressed his astonishment at the form of interrogation, stating, “Mr. Cohen, I’ve never seen the cross of a cooperator done like this.”
Ellison’s role at Alameda and her relationship with Bankman-Fried was a recurring theme in the cross-examination. Cohen’s line of questions highlighted differences in their risk tolerance, business vision, and even personal styles. Their contrasting views on the blockchain project Solana, FTX’s business model, and their distinct stress management styles were brought into the spotlight.
Cohen’s line of questioning also focused on the management of Alameda’s funds, the implications of their business model, and the usage of their loans. According to Ellison, the structure which Alameda employed, while being likened to a hedge fund, had advantages over traditional hedge funds due to its flexibility.
Caroline Ellison is among the government’s star witnesses in its case against Bankman-Fried. Her testimony is ongoing at press time.
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