Ex-friends of John Bankman-Fried to testify against DOJ

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Ex-friends of John Bankman-Fried to testify against DOJ

Several of Bankman-Fried's former colleagues and friends will testify against the one-time crypto mogul following plea deals they struck with the U.S. Department of Justice, including his former romantic partner Caroline Ellison and childhood friend Gary Wang, who were both deeply involved in the daily workings of both FTX and its quant-driven trading shop, Alameda Research. Another two people, who have yet to publicly name themselves, may testify if granted immunity, suggesting they may also be tied to the exchange. The DOJ announced over the weekend that prosecutors plan to hire former FTX customers from worldwide and investors as witnesses during the trial.

Caroline Ellison, one of the most eagerly awaited witnesses, is expected to take the stand against Bankman-Fried. As the one-time head of Alameda Research, the hedge fund linked to FTX, she can speak to the firms' relationship and the amount of FTT it held, court documents show. She also had a personal relationship with the founder of FTX. She is said to be one of the few insiders who actually knew what was going on inside FTX.

Brian Kim, data analytics and forensics expert, may speak to internal messaging between Bankman-Fried and his employees at FTX and its sister companies. If Bankman-Fried is called to the stand, he may testify on the content, metadata, and filepaths associated with Slack data and Google documents, that allegedly prove Bankman-Fried instructed his employees to destroy evidence of his companies' alleged fraud. The data would include the fields (of documents and messages) listing the author, custodian, and viewer, as well as the content created, modified, viewed, saved, and/or deleted dates. As bishop, his focus would be on rebutting DOJ testimony.

As a finance and technology professor at the University of Michigan, Andrew Di Wu, a professor of finance and technology, will give the jury a peek at how cryptocurrency exchanges, and the blockchain technologies that undergird them, operate. As a part of his testimony, he may also explain the unique complexities in operating centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, particularly those with cross-border operations, and the challenges in processing transactions in multiple fiat and cryptocurrencies, a court filing said. The defense said that Wu's testimony could come in response to an FBI agent testifying for the prosecution.