Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is planning to testify at his criminal fraud trial in Manhattan, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
The lawyer, Mark Cohen, confirmed Mr. Bankman-Fried’s plans to take the witness stand at a hearing with prosecutors and the judge overseeing the case, which was held on the last day of a nearly weeklong break in the trial. Mr. Bankman-Fried, 31, could testify as soon as Thursday, after federal prosecutors are scheduled to call their final witness in the morning and then rest their case.
“Our client is going to be testifying,” Mr. Cohen said at the hearing.
Mr. Bankman-Fried is charged with orchestrating a sweeping scheme to steal as much as $10 billion in deposits from customers of FTX. Prosecutors say that the cryptocurrency mogul then used the money to finance political contributions, real estate purchases and other lavish spending.
Mr. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. If convicted, he could face what amounts to a life sentence.
Over the first three weeks of the trial, prosecutors have called a procession of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s close friends and colleagues, who have testified that the FTX founder lied to customers, investors and lenders about the exchange’s use of customer money as he built his business empire.
This is a developing news story. Stay tuned for updates.