In this episode of Unchained, Laura does a detailed unpacking of the historic Sam Bankman-Fried trial and verdict with defense lawyer Sam Enzer and former Southern District of New York prosecutor Rich Cooper. They discuss what a thorough job the government did in presenting its case, whether the government will pursue a second trial on campaign finance charges, why it takes so long for sentencing to occur, what the differences between this case and the Bernie Madoff case are, and what Bankman-Fried’s likely sentence will be.


Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Show highlights:

  • how the cross-examination of SBF showed to the jury that he was unreliable, according to Rich
  • why the charge conference with the jury is important to the prosecution for “protecting the record”
  • why the closing argument of the prosecutors was so effective
  • what “conscious avoidance” is and how the prosecutors tried to prove that SBF was guilty of that
  • why SBF’s tweet last November that  “FTX is fine” was the hardest part of the trial for the defense, according to Enzer
  • why Enzer wasn’t surprised by how quickly the jury made its decision
  • what SBF’s strongest argument is for an appeal
  • why Enzer “hopes” that there won’t be a second trial against SBF and whether he will plead guilty to the additional charges
  • why the sentencing occurs so many months after the verdict
  • how this case is similar, but also different, from the Bernie Madoff case
  • how many years SBF could spend in prison, according to Enzer and Cooper
  • when cooperating witnesses such as Caroline Ellison, Nishad Singh, and Gary Wang are likely to get sentenced


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Episode Transcript