Prosecutors Use Caroline Ellison’s Notes in Trial Against Sam Bankman-Fried
In the ongoing criminal trial of FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, prosecutors plan to present personal notes and diary entries from former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison as evidence. These documents include a collection of Ellison’s to-do lists and notes, one of which is titled “Things Sam is Freaking Out About.”
The note provides a summary of conversations between Bankman-Fried and Ellison regarding his business concerns, fundraising, Alameda’s trading hedges, and negative press surrounding the hedge fund and FTX’s ties. In addition to these insights, other entries shed light on the day-to-day operations that prosecutors claim were fraudulent at FTX.
Additionally, the evidence includes a recording of Ellison from an all-hands meeting on November 9, 2022, just two days before FTX and Alameda filed for bankruptcy. During the meeting, a question arose regarding who else was aware of the shortfall in FTX user funds. Ellison mentioned Sam, Nishad, and Gary as individuals she had discussed it with. Gary Wang is a co-founder of FTX, and Nishad Singh was the exchange’s director of engineering, both of whom have already pleaded guilty to fraud charges and are cooperating with prosecutors.
When further pressed on who made the decision to use FTX user deposits, Ellison allegedly answered, “Um . . . Sam, I guess.”
The prosecution argues that the hoard of evidence, including Ellison’s diaries and personal notes, does not fall under hearsay as she took notes to memorialize information and fulfill her role in the conspiracy. Furthermore, the prosecution believes evidence related to Bankman-Fried’s other alleged activities, such as falsified statements to a bank, bribery of Chinese officials, manipulation of FTX’s native FTT token, and selective prioritization of creditor payments, should also be presented in court.
In response to the prosecution’s motion, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers filed a response on August 14. They requested the exclusion of any evidence obtained after July 1, claiming that the prosecutors failed to provide specific information in a timely manner, including the contents of Wang’s laptop and Ellison’s encrypted Telegram chats. According to the defense, these delays have hindered their ability to adequately prepare for the trial.
Currently, Bankman-Fried is awaiting his October trial at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center after his bail was revoked due to allegations that he leaked some of Ellison’s diary entries to The New York Times.
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