Crypto Influencers and ‘Degenerates’ Flock to Sam Bankman-Fried’s Trial

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A parade of powerful legal minds has gathered over the last three weeks at the criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced cryptocurrency mogul. Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, has sat for hours in the 26th-floor courtroom, alongside partners at prestigious law firms and a former deputy to Robert Mueller III, who served as special counsel in an investigation of President Donald J. Trump. Then there’s a man who calls himself Taco. A prolific YouTuber with a channel devoted to crypto, Taco, 39, has become an unlikely staple in the crowd of lawyers, reporters and curious observers who line up every morning before sunrise to get a seat at Mr. Bankman-Fried’s trial in downtown Manhattan. Many days, the streamer smokes a cigar or two before 6 a.m., then logs on to a crypto-themed video chat, regaling his roughly 5,000 online followers with the latest news about the case. “Everyone talks about how important crypto is to them,” Taco said. “But then they don’t go to any events.” Taco declined to reveal his real name, citing privacy concerns. “The government thinks I’m dead,” he explained. But he said he felt compelled to show up for “technically sort of like the trial of the century.”

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