During the closing arguments of the trial of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, defense attorney Mark Cohen accused the prosecution of portraying Bankman-Fried as a monster and compared their characterization to a villain in a movie, arguing that they lacked a real-world perspective. Cohen argued that the prosecution intentionally presented Bankman-Fried in a negative light by showing a picture of him with a deck of cards, claiming that he used it to control his fidgeting rather than to gamble. Cohen also addressed Bankman-Fried's appearance and romantic relationships, stating that they were irrelevant to his guilt or innocence. In contrast, U.S. Assistant Attorney Nicolas Roos, representing the prosecution, claimed that Bankman-Fried was gambling with customer money. The prosecution relied on Bankman-Fried's evasive testimony and the testimony of his co-conspirators to support their case of fraud. Roos emphasized the importance of following the truth and letting the evidence prevail over storytelling. Cohen countered the prosecution's claims by asserting that Bankman-Fried acted in good faith and did not knowingly commit wrongdoing. He acknowledged the shortcomings of FTX's risk management system but argued that bad business decisions are not a crime. Cohen pointed to Bankman-Fried's willingness to testify before Congress and engage with the media as evidence of his innocence, suggesting that he believed he was acting in good faith while running the failed crypto exchange. The defense also argued that margin trading was not inherently wrong and that customers on FTX were essentially borrowing from each other. The defense further justified Bankman-Fried's investments with customer funds by claiming they were relative to the company's size. They cited real estate deals, including a $30 million penthouse, as necessary for housing skilled workers and explained that extending Alameda Research's line of credit on FTX was done to support trades and protect customers from potential losses. The defense maintained that Bankman-Fried's actions were intended to help, not harm, customers. Bankman-Fried is expected to return to court, and jurors will begin deliberations in the coming days.
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