SBF’s defense puts forth a 35-minute last-ditch effort

The trial will end with closing arguments on Wednesday before the jury deliberates

As Sam Bankman-Fried took the stand for the last time in his trial for fraud and money laundering, his main lawyer, Mark Cohen, returned to question him on a number of themes that prosecutors touched on in the past few days. But this time, he took a different approach, presenting the defendant as a person who was acting in good faith.

“We lived and died by having a better product than competitors,” Bankman-Fried said of his now-bankrupt crypto exchange, FTX. Bankman-Fried owned majority stakes in both FTX and its sister trading firm, Alameda Research, but insisted he wanted the best for both.

Bankman-Fried has been testifying since Thursday afternoon, and the prosecution has grilled him for the past few days as part of their cross-examination. On Tuesday, when the defense lawyers returned to reexamine him, he was swaying slightly on the stand, shoulders drawn down and forward. He spoke softly, but was more talkative than earlier in the day and on Monday when he was being questioned.

Contrary to the picture prosecutors tried to paint, Bankman-Fried insisted that he was not involved in the day-to-day trading operations of Alameda or its “core operations,” but instead emphasized his concern for its leadership at the time, saying he wanted to be involved in many of its venture investments, decisions on hedging, and other areas.

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