Judge in Sam Bankman-Fried trial reams out lawyers for having witnesses ‘hauled up here’ from across the country without much to say – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Judge in Sam Bankman-Fried trial reams out lawyers for having witnesses ‘hauled up here’ from across the country without much to say

Chelsea Jia Feng/Insider

Attorneys in Sam Bankman-Fried’s Manhattan trial were chewed out by the judge on Wednesday.Judge Lewis Kaplan lost his patience over two witnesses who gave useless testimony.Kaplan was particularly frustrated that one of the witnesses had traveled from Texas to participate.

The judge presiding over Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial lost his patience with lawyers on both sides in Manhattan federal court on Monday, calling the questioning of some of their witnesses a “waste” of valuable time.

The blistering comments from Judge Lewis Kaplan came after two witnesses were excused after having been on the stand for less than 45 minutes each – including both direct and cross-examination. Both witnesses gave few productive answers to questions asked of them by the government and the defense.

“We have 18 people devoting time here to this case, and it’s really a crime, that part of it,” Kaplan said, referring to the jury, which was not in the room at the time. “Obviously, it’s a serious case. Obviously, there are all kinds of important things to be determined. But lawyers are supposed to do a little better than this. I am talking to both sides.”

Prosecutors accuse Bankman-Fried of defrauding customers and investors of his cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, out of billions of dollars.

The first witness on Wednesday was Eliora Katz, the former in-house lobbyist for FTX US. While answering questions about company communications, Katz maintained that most of the evidence shown to her had been drafted and published before her time at the company from April to November of 2022.

“She was called essentially as a mannequin to read to the jury documents in evidence and the transcripts of videotapes in evidence, and that was a waste of her time, it was a waste of the jury’s time, and it was a waste of everybody else’s time,” Kaplan said. “I expect different behavior from counsel.”

Later in the day, the prosecution called Cory Gaddis, a records custodian at Google who flew to New York from Texas. He was also unable to answer most of the questions he was asked about specific document metadata.

“And then we are treated to this Mr. Gaddis being hauled up here from Texas to authenticate metadata on, I believe it was five documents, maybe it’s seven or eight, as to which there was no dispute at all to get them into evidence,” Kaplan said.

“We’re not going to do this again,” he added, noting there was “fault on both sides.”

Kaplan’s complaints aside, Wednesday was an otherwise efficient trial day, with four witnesses taking the stand in total.

Peter Easton, an accounting professor and academic director from the University of Notre Dame, testified extensively about analyses he did on FTX’s and Alameda’s finances.

The day wrapped with Shamel Medrano, an investigative analyst at the US Attorney’s Office who testified to various public and private social media messages from Bankman-Fried.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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