With the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) only a few weeks away, the 31-year-old billionaire plans to turn the table on his defense team according to a report from . On Thursday, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers hinted at the fact that they would be pursuing a so-called advice-of-counsel defense.
Advise of Counsel Push to Exonerate SBF
This kind of defense is usually effective for deflecting the responsibility of the defendant for the crimes charged. Although, it has to be backed up with concrete evidence, memos or other forms of written communication that truly demonstrate that such advice was given as well as how much it was relied upon.
If adopted in this case, this would allow the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX to argue that he had no intentions to break the law and was only following the advice and guidance of his lawyers who assured him that his actions at FTX were satisfactory.
Consequently, his argument could weaken the testimony of one of the prosecutor’s key witnesses who was the former in-house lawyer for FTX. According to court papers, this witness is tagged “Witness-1.” The advice-of-counsel defense would also nullify the attorney-client privacy privilege.
SBF’s Defense Remains Vague
Noteworthy, the billionaire’s counsel is yet to disclose which lawyers he is currently referring to or plans to mention and neither have they declared what areas of the case the said lawyers provided the legal advice to.
Due to the vagueness of this proposition, prosecutors lodged a complaint with United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan citing that Bankman-Fried’s legal defense team has failed to provide sufficient details of how they intend to engage the defense.
There is a request for a court order from the government lawyers requesting that SBF’s counsel expands on its advice-of-counsel by August 23rd. On the other hand, if his lawyers fail to comply, the federal prosecutors expect that the defense tactic be precluded at trial.
Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried is still held up in jail following the request of the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) that forced the court to revoke his $250 million bail bond. According to Judge Kaplan’s ruling, he will remain in prison until the next hearing in October.