Sam Bankman-Fried plans to testify at his New York fraud trial, his lawyer says

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NEW YORK (AP) — FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried plans to testify at his fraud trial, his lawyer told a federal judge on Wednesday, a day before the defense is set to counter testimony from former executives who say the cryptocurrency executive stole billions of dollars from his customers and investors over several years. Attorney Mark Cohen told Judge Lewis A. Kaplan that he planned to call three witnesses “and then our client is also going to be testifying” after prosecutors rest early Thursday. Cohen made the comment during a phone and video conference in Manhattan federal court after the judge told him: “It’s time to tell me what defense case, if any, you’re going to put on.” The judge told him that he didn’t have to say yet whether Bankman-Fried would testify, but Cohen volunteered that he would. Even so, prosecutors and the judge later discussed the possibility that closing arguments could occur early next week if Bankman-Fried changes his mind and doesn’t take the stand. Bankman-Fried, 31, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he looted the financial accounts of his customers and investors to live lavishly and bolster his personal reputation and the reputation of his companies through large donations to charity and political candidates. Prosecutors have called some of his former top executives to testify against him. They’ve told the jury that he was involved in every facet of his businesses and was fully aware that billions of dollars he was spending on real estate, investments and contributions were unwittingly funded by customers and investors. Bankman-Fried has been jailed since August, when Kaplan ruled that he had tried to influence potential trial witnesses and revoked the $250 million personal recognizance bond that had permitted him to live with his parents in Palo Alto, California, after his December extradition from the Bahamas. ___ For more AP coverage of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX: https://apnews.com/hub/sam-bankman-fried Larry Neumeister And Ken Sweet, The Associated Press

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