In its closing statement yesterday, the prosecution pointed repeatedly to the contrast between the fluency and demeanor of Bankman-Fried under questioning by his own lawyers and his evasiveness in cross-examination.
“Did you notice how on Friday [during direct examination] his testimony was smooth, like it had been rehearsed a bunch of times?” said Nicolas Roos, the prosecutor, and he “had a perfect memory.” But when questioned by the government, Bankman-Fried “couldn’t remember a single detail about his company or what he said publicly.”
In cross-examination, there were 140 instances in which Bankman-Fried had said he couldn’t recall the answer to a question, said Roos. When Bankman-Fried did respond, meanwhile, he “approached every question like up was down and down was up.”
The prosecution also sought to debunk the idea, peddled by the defense, that Bankman-Fried was largely unaware of the embezzlement of FTX customer funds, or the extent of the financial shortfall it created. To find Bankman-Fried not-guilty of fraud, Roos told the jurors, “you would have to believe that the defendant, who graduated from MIT, who ran two billion-dollar companies and who was testifying in Congress, was actually clueless.”