Thursday, 14 December 2023
by Rose White
Stanford Law Professor David Mills, who put together FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) defense, recently gave his candid opinion on the case. He suggested that the outcome of the case was already obvious even before the trial began. Mills also gave an insight into why he took on the case despite his reservations.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Mills said that pre-trial rulings by the judge and powerful testimony of the prosecution witnesses made the case “unwinnable” for SBF. Judge Lewis Kaplan (the Judge who oversaw the case) had made several pretrial rulings ahead of the trial, with a majority of them going against Bankman-Fried.
The witness testimonies that Mills was also referring to included that of members of SBF’s former ‘inner circle.’ Alameda Reserach’s ex-CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX’s co-founder Gary Wang and FTX’s former Director of Engineering Nishad Singh were among those who the prosecution had called to testify against the FTX founder.
Mills believes that all this made the verdict in Bankman-Fried’s inevitable. Interestingly, despite the guilty verdict, the Law Professor believes that Sam Bankman-Fried was innocent because “he didn’t form the intent to do anything wrong.” This was something the defendant tried to hammer on when he took the stand, although many will agree that he failed woefully in doing that.
One of those who agree includes Mills himself, as he stated that Bankman-Fried “may be at the very top of the list as the worst person I’ve ever seen do a cross-examination.” However, he doesn’t think that a better performance by the defendant would have changed anything, as the Jury would have still found him guilty.
Despite his reservations, Mills mentioned that he agreed to help out with the case because of his friendship with Bankman-Fried’s parents, Allan Bankman and Barbara Fried. Bankman and Fried also happen to be long-time Law Professors at Stanford Law School and Mills fears that this case possibly ended the friendship he had with the duo.
It is, however, understandable why Bankman-Fried’s parents reached out to Mills to help out with the case, considering his wealth of experience in Criminal Law. Bloomberg reported the lawyer wearing a khaki cap, which had the number “3419,” representing the number of persons he has helped get out of prison.
Mills doesn’t have any intention of making Bankman-Fried the number ‘3420’ as he told Bloomberg that he is not going to get involved in any potential appeal by the defendant. He seems to believe that he has already gotten too involved in the case and won’t want to go any further.