In the lead-up to the trial of FTX co-founder, new court documents further reveal that his expert witnesses could demand significant fees for their testimonies.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s Expert Witnesses and Their Charges

Importantly, as the trial date for Sam Bankman-Fried’s fraud case approaches, it’s evident that he may call upon seven expert witnesses to testify on his behalf. These experts include Lawrence Akka, Thomas Bishop, Brian Kim, Joseph Pimbley, Bradley Smith, Peter Vinella, and Andrew Di Wu.

Among these witnesses, former Federal Election Commission Chairperson Bradley Smith stands out for charging $1,200 per hour. Smith’s testimony will focus specifically on critical topics, such as U.S. campaign finance laws and straw donors.

In his court filing on August 28, Smith clarified,

“I have no financial interest in the outcome of this case. I am being compensated for my time and services on an hourly basis at the billing rate of $1,200 per hour. My compensation in this case is not in any way contingent or based on the opinions presented herein or on the outcome of these legal proceedings.”

Other experts, including Akka and Pimbley, may charge $1,000 and $720 per hour, respectively. The hourly rates for Bankman-Fried’s potential expert witnesses vary between $400 and $650.

Court gravel as a symbol of justice

In contrast, Peter Easton, an accounting professor at the University of Notre Dame and a proposed witness for the prosecution, will charge $1,175 per hour, according to court data.

DOJ’s Motion to Exclude Expert Witnesses

These court filings were submitted as part of a motion by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to prohibit all seven expert witnesses from testifying on behalf of Sam Bankman-Fried. The DOJ also argues that the proposed experts and their disclosures have various deficiencies. Furthermore, they lack a solid basis for their opinions.

The authority contends,

“Where the defendant does disclose the expert’s opinions, the opinions are inappropriate subjects for expert testimony, lack a reliable methodology or basis in facts and data, or are irrelevant, unfairly prejudicial, and confusing to the jury.”

Trial Status

Further, this development occurs as the deadline for Sam Bankman-Fried to request a trial postponement approaches. If the request is filed by September 1 and approved, the trial’s start date will shift to March 11, 2024.

Notably, Bankman-Fried faces 12 criminal charges and they will be divided between two trials. The first trial is scheduled for October 2, 2023 while the second is on March 11, 2024. However, Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to all counts, setting the stage for a complex legal battle ahead.

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