FTX case unwinnable, says Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyer

FTX case unwinnable, says Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyer

Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, David Mills, calls his client the worst witness ever and emphasizes the FTX founder made the case unwinnable. 

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Mills described the former FTX CEO’s trial as one of his most daunting cases yet. The case began with a personal request, as Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, Bankman-Fried’s parents and long-time acquaintances, sought his expertise. The parents believed in their son’s innocence and needed a capable defender in his corner. Mills, acknowledging the depth of their friendship, agreed to assist without any financial compensation.

Bankman-Fried went off-script

Throughout the trial, Mills witnessed Bankman-Fried’s approach in court, which often strayed from the planned defense strategy. Bankman-Fried’s responses under cross-examination, particularly when confronted with challenging questions from prosecutors, were unexpected and, in Mills’ view, detrimental.

“In my extensive career, I’ve rarely seen such a challenging cross-examination,” Mills said. “It was a departure from our planned course, which complicated our defense strategy significantly.”

Despite Mills’ expertise, the combination of powerful prosecution evidence and a series of unfavorable pre-trial rulings by the judge created an uphill battle for the defense. The jury’s decision, arriving swiftly, was a verdict of guilty. Mills believes a better testimony from the FTX founder would’ve saved him from the guilty verdict. 

This outcome marks a rare setback for Mills, whose career highlights include high-profile cases in the 1980s and more recent prominent legal battles. The emotional toll of the trial, coupled with the strain on his friendships with Bankman and Fried, has led Mills to reconsider his future in criminal law.

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