From the outset, the decision to have Mr. Bankman-Fried testify in the federal trial that charged him with some of the most grievous acts of financial fraud in the country’s history, seemed like a self-defeating proposition. Ostentatiously unfazed by physical beauty, art, novels, fashion, religion and heated food, he was also an avowed hater of Shakespeare (“one-dimensional” characters, “illogical plots,” “obvious endings”) who was mystified by emotionally driven decisions, challenging any effort to place him somewhere on a continuum of human relatability.
What would a jury of his peers possibly look like? Or, in the specific absence of that, what would 12 ordinary people see when they were seated on the other side of the witness stand from him? The prosecution hoped that they would observe a grown man, steeped in self-contradiction and capable of criminality, rather than the 31-year-old boy Mr. Bankman-Fried appeared to be, someone whose adolescent enthusiasms and distractibility caused him to make billions of dollars worth of hapless, innocent errors. In the end, the jury saw only the duplicitous adult.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
Join Us On LinkedIn
Join the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Group on LinkedIn