The U.S. Department of Justice has filed motions to disqualify all seven expert witnesses put forward by former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried for his forthcoming October trial, citing various inadequacies in their qualifications and methodologies.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted filings on Aug. 29 to preclude all seven expert witnesses put forward by Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of FTX, in his forthcoming trial scheduled for October. In the legal documents, the DOJ argues that the defense’s roster of experts is rife with inadequacies that should disqualify them from testifying.
The prosecution contends that the proposed experts are not in compliance with the requisite standards for criminal proceedings. Specifically, they maintain that the expert opinions are unreliable and could introduce bias or confusion into the deliberations of the jury. “The court should exercise its gatekeeping function to prevent the admissibility of such flawed expert testimony,” the DOJ said in the request.
The defense’s list of witnesses is diverse, comprising a British attorney, leaders from four consulting firms, a law professor, and a business school assistant professor. These experts were expected to discuss various facets related to FTX and Alameda Research, including their terms of service, accounting practices, software architecture, compliance with campaign finance laws, and the underlying principles of blockchain technology.
The government has especially taken issue with Joseph Pimbley, principal at Maxwell Consulting, stating that his testimony concerning FTX’s code would be redundant. The DOJ insists that their own witnesses, including former CTO Nishad Singh and director of engineering Gary Wang, have the appropriate expertise to address these matters.
Moreover, the DOJ has proposed that if the court does not disallow these witnesses, a Daubert hearing should take place. This type of hearing would permit both the prosecution and the defense to cross-examine the experts in an open court setting to determine if their testimonies are admissible.
This legal battle, part of the larger Bankman-Fried and FTX bankruptcy case, has seen numerous motions and counter-motions. Just last week, the legal team overseeing the FTX estate petitioned the court for permission to stake its Ethereum (ETH) holdings and sell its Bitcoin (BTC) assets as a risk mitigation strategy.