Is the Sam Bankman-Fried Story Over?

“I did not think it a fruitful use of time to spell out every time I thought Mr. Bankman-Fried testified willfully and knowingly falsely at trial. There are more than the ones I’ve articulated, but that suffices,” the judge said. “And when he wasn’t outright lying, he was often evasive, hairsplitting, dodging questions and trying to get the prosecutor to reword questions in ways that he could answer in ways he thought less harmful than a truthful answer to the question that was posed would have been.”

It’s a harsh, but accurate assessment of Bankman-Fried’s performance on the stand. His performance, as the judge put it, was awful. I’m somewhat sympathetic to the idea that being in jail made it difficult for Bankman-Fried to properly prepare for cross-examination, but he seemed to resent his narrative being questioned during his testimony and it undoubtably made an impression on the jury, witnesses and the judge.

More than that, Bankman-Fried didn’t quite seem to grasp how his demeanor and responses were received by the judge and jury. This was true last year and remained true last month. “I’ve been doing this job for close to 30 years,” the judge said. “I’ve never seen a performance quite like that.”

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