Steven Lee, Sean Shecter Speak with Law360 About Bankman-Fried’s “Nightmarish” Substack Post

Atlanta, Ga./Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (January 18, 2023) - Atlanta and Savannah Partner Steven H. Lee, with Fort Lauderdale Partner Sean P. Shecter, recently spoke with Law360 for an article titled, “Bankman-Fried Blog 'Nightmarish' For His Attys, Experts Say,” which discusses the effects that Sam Bankman-Fried’s recent Substack post could have on his current legal battle.

As the article describes, the post that Mr. Bankman-Fried (also known as SBF) authored on Substack “publicly outlined” defenses that he and his attorneys may use against charges that he stole billions of dollars from crypto exchange FTX before it collapsed. In commenting on Mr. Bankman-Fried’s actions, Mr. Lee told Law360 that the Substack post is a "nightmarish scenario for SBF's attorneys.” He added, “Their client is essentially communicating their future defense aloud and locking them into it.” Mr. Shecter agreed, noting, “I cannot imagine his attorneys wanted him to do that."

In addition, Mr. Shecter described how Mr. Bankman-Fried’s statements could potentially aid prosecutors in the criminal case against him. He explained, “Prosecutors love when a defendant provides so much information. . . . If any of his comments are inconsistent with documents or testimony from other individuals, the government will pounce and say, 'See, this is further proof he is a liar who intended to defraud.’” 

Likewise, Mr. Lee pointed out that Mr. Bankman-Fried’s public comments could taint the jury and will be excluded as “self-serving hearsay.” Mr. Lee elaborated, “If SBF's counsel wants to reiterate any of SBF's public statements during trial, SBF will need to take the stand or the government must volunteer such public statements in their case-in-chief. . . . Additionally, nothing stops the government from using any of SBF's public statements against SBF during his cross-examination."

Furthermore, in discussing Mr. Bankman-Fried’s offer to help repay FTX customers, Mr. Lee told Law360 that although the offer may be charitable, it will not help Mr. Bankman-Fried's case at trial. "Anything SBF does now to recoup funds may help him at sentencing, but will not help on the issue of guilt or innocence in committing fraud," he explained.

Mr. Lee serves as vice chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Government Investigations & White Collar Defense Practice. A former federal prosecutor, he focuses his practice on government and internal corporate investigations and complex litigation matters.

Mr. Shecter serves as co-chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Government Investigations & White Collar Defense Practice, and chair of its Supply Chain Due Diligence Practice. A former federal prosecutor, he is also a member of the firm's Complex Business & Commercial Litigation, Sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Practices.

Read the full article on Law360 here (subscription may be required).

RELATED: Steven Lee, Sean Shecter Author Law360 Expert Analysis on FTX Collapse Fallout, How Crypto Companies May Avoid a Similar Fate

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