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Sam Bankman-Fried admits he donated to Dems because he wanted to shape public policy to favor FTX
Photographer: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sam Bankman-Fried admits he donated to Dems because he wanted to shape public policy to favor FTX

Cryptocurrency exchange mogul Sam Bankman-Fried testified in front of a judge and jury and provided reasoning for extremely expensive sponsorship deals his company FTX dished out, along with blaming legal advice for poor business decisions.

After weeks of testimony from colleagues and co-founders that identified Bankman-Fried as the wrongdoer in chief, the FTX founder was finally able to address some of the accusations against him in court.

The founder was the only witness called by the defense, but was reportedly reprimanded by the judge on multiple occasions for rambling on, the Washington Post reported. Bankman-Fried was reportedly told to stop talking by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who even rephrased the prosecution's words to force direct answers from the accused.

Bankman-Fried was also lectured for trying to give his own definition of market manipulation, to which the judge said that "you will take what I say manipulation means."

The same judge did not allow Bankman-Fried and his team to use their predominant reasoning behind his decisions as their defense. Bankman-Fried wanted to say that he had relied on the advice of lawyers for crucial business decisions, but the judge declared that it would be “confusing and prejudicial" if used as testimony.

That defense was limited to FTX’s document retention policies, the Washington Post noted.

Sponsorships handed out by FTX that were revealed in previous court proceedings included $150 million to become the "official cryptocurrency exchange brand" of Major League Baseball, $50 million to NFL legend Tom Brady, $28.5 million to NBA star Steph Curry, and $10 million to "Seinfeld" creator Larry David.

Among them was a $205 million price tag for the naming rights to Miami's then-FTX Arena. Bankman-Fried justified this deal because he "didn’t want to be known as the Kansas City Royals of crypto exchanges,” and therefore the sponsorship in Miami carried a desired degree of name recognition.

He also justified political donations, with his stated goal being to shape regulations so that FTX could eventually offer futures trading in the United States.

Many of Bankman-Fried's reported answers contradicted the testimonies of his colleagues, which labeled him the foremost decision-maker, including ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison, who claimed he was still calling the shots at the company's hedge fund Alameda Research even when she was the CEO.

In total, FTX shelled out $1.13 billion in endorsement deals.

According to Time, more than $70 million was donated to election campaigns, along with another $40 million to politicians and committees ahead of the 2022 midterms. This included $5.2 million to President Biden's campaign in 2020, which immediately shot Bankman-Fried to near the top of the donor list

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
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