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SBF’s Lawyer Says FTX Founder was the “Worst” Witness he has Ever Seen, “Almost Impossible” to Win: Report

Julia Smith
Last updated: | 2 min read

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A Stanford Law professor who worked on the landmark fraud trial of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said he was the “worst person” he had ever seen do a cross-examination and called the odds of winning the case “almost impossible,” according to a new Bloomberg report.

Mills roasts SBF

Specializing in criminal law and white-collar crime, Professor David Mills agreed to work on Bankman-Fried’s case pro bono, in part thanks to his close relationship with his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, both former Stanford Law professors themselves.

In the report, however, Mills expressed concerns that the case potentially caused strife in the relationship between him and Bankman-Fried’s parents.

“I’m concerned, when you believe in your child’s complete innocence, that you need to blame someone,” Mills said, “and I am a likely candidate.”

Mills went on to allege Bankman-Fried went against the advice of his lawyers during his now infamous testimony, wherein he told the jury he did not “recall” specific details relating to his time at FTX more than 100 hundred times.

“He may be at the very top of the list as the worst person I’ve ever seen do a cross-examination,” Mills said.

An “almost impossible to win” case

Citing the testimony of former FTX and Alameda Research executives, Mills called the case “almost impossible to win.”

The nearly month-long trial against Bankman-Fried saw his former associates and friends testify against him, including former Alameda Research and Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, as the prosecution’s star witness.

“You got five people who say one thing, one person who says another thing,” Mills said. “Well, you’ve got no shot – zero.”

Moreover, Bankman-Fried’s trial has changed the way he will handle cases going forward.

“I’m not going to get myself emotionally involved on a very deep personal level in a case like this again,” Mills stated. “I’m just not going to do it.”

“A fantastic lawyer”

Bankman and Fried themselves are under scrutiny for their proximity to the case, with both being defendants in a civil suit filed by FTX, which filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2022.

“Bankman and Fried wielded their influence and status as Bankman-Fried’s parents to enrich themselves at the expense of the FTX Group,” stated the plaintiffs.

Bankman-Fried was convicted of giving Alameda Research “special privileges” on FTX which allowed the company to use customer funds to finance various expenditures, including a $16.4 million Bahamian home for his parents.

Bankman and Fried attended their son’s entire month-long trial leading up to his conviction, with both becoming visibly emotional as the guilty verdict was read aloud.

“My sadness for them is extreme, and I don’t know if our friendship will survive this,” Mills said.

However, in a statement, Bankman and Fried said that they “love” Mills — even going so far as calling him “a fantastic lawyer.”

“He has also been an amazingly steadfast friend and will be grateful to him for being with us in a dark time, forever,” Fried and Bankman said.

Meanwhile, FTX is fighting against a claim made by the Internal Revenue Service seeking as much as $24 billion from the crypto exchange. Whether or not FTX debtors will see their funds returned to them remains to be seen.