Here's what happened today in Sam Bankman-Fried's trial

From CNN's Allison Morrow

Updated 5:19 p.m. ET, October 30, 2023
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12:34 p.m. ET, October 30, 2023

SBF quizzed about calling some customers "dumb m*therf**kers"

Bankman-Fried's publicity tour after the collapse of his crypto empire is coming back to haunt him. 

US Assistant Attorney Danielle Sassoon noted Monday that SBF publicly advocated for crypto regulation, citing a tweet in which he wrote his support for regulation was "contingent on protecting customers." 

"That was just for PR, wasn’t it?" Sassoon asked. 

"No." Bankman-Fried replied. 

Sassoon then referenced an exchange SBF had with a reporter in which he said “f*ck regulators” and that his advocacy was "just PR."

Another private conversation showed SBF calling some customers “dumb m*therf**kers.”

SBF pushed back on the question, saying that comment referred only to a "specific subset" of customers.

12:29 p.m. ET, October 30, 2023

Sassoon presses SBF on how he promoted FTX

Sassoon is trying to undermine Sam Bankman-Fried's testimony that he acted in good faith in how he spoke about FTX as safer and more transparent than other exchanges. 

She also alluded to Bankman-Fried's skills as a storyteller who deftly persuaded investors and customers to funnel money into his company. Sassoon is referencing repeated instances of Bankman-Fried publicly touting FTX's innovative technology and commitment to user safety. 

"You were pretty proud that FTX caught on so quickly?" Sassoon asked.

SBF replied: "Yeah, I was."

12:19 p.m. ET, October 30, 2023

Who's asking the tough questions?

Danielle Sassoon, assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, exits court in New York, on October 5.
Danielle Sassoon, assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, exits court in New York, on October 5. Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg/Getty Images

US Assistant Attorney Danielle Sassoon is leading the government's cross-examination of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. 

Sassoon was a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, whom she said taught her "how to fire a pistol and a rifle, and made me feel like I had grit," she wrote in 2016.

"He thickened my skin, which was the best preparation for a career in a male-dominated field."

Sassoon received her law degree from Yale and has a bachelor's degree in History and Literature from Harvard.

12:16 p.m. ET, October 30, 2023

Cross-examination is set to begin

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is questioned by defense lawyer Mark Cohen as he testifies in his fraud trial over the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan at federal court in New York City, on October 30.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is questioned by defense lawyer Mark Cohen as he testifies in his fraud trial over the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan at federal court in New York City, on October 30. Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Lead defense attorney Mark Cohen has now finished his direct questioning of Sam Bankman-Fried.

The next few hours of the trial are expected to be contentious. In a hearing outside the presence of the jury last week, prosecutor Danielle Sassoon showed little patience with Bankman-Fried's meandering answers. And while SBF appeared confident and calm on the stand with his own counsel questioning him, he appeared flustered and anxious under cross-examination. 

Cohen spent the last few minutes asking SBF about the days immediately after he stepped down as CEO. Bankman-Fried recounted how he tried to help the liquidation process along. He also commented on his many media appearances following FTX's collapse. 

"I felt like it was the right thing for me to do," he said of an interview he gave to George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. "I wanted to tell people, tell the world, what I knew."

11:22 a.m. ET, October 30, 2023

SBF explains notorious tweet that promised FTX was "fine" — before its value plunged from $10 billion to zero

SBF sought to explain a notorious tweet that has been central to the government's argument that he lied to customers and investors about the state of his companies. 

The tweet — which said FTX and its assets were both "fine" — was accurate at the time he posted it on the morning of November 7, he told jurors. But as the market crashed further that evening and into the following morning, "we were risking a solvency crisis, SBF said.

A market downturn meant that assets associated with Alameda “declined massively in value,” SBF said Monday. The approximately 50% crash in Alameda's assets drove the firm's net asset value from around $10 billion to a little bit above zero, SBF testified. 

At that time, he said, he deleted his earlier tweet. 

The government's first witness in the trial cited that tweet in recounting the reassurances from Bankman-Fried that led him to not withdraw his funds from the platform.

10:57 a.m. ET, October 30, 2023

FTX daily withdrawal surged to $4 billion after tweet from crypto rival, Binance

Bankman-Fried spoke Monday about the days leading up to FTX's bankruptcy filing on November 11 last year. 

On November 6, FTX saw about $1 billion of net withdrawals in response to a tweet from the CEO of FTX's bigger rival, Binance. The pace of withdrawals then increased further.

The following day, FTX saw about $4 billion in net withdrawals, 100 times more than a typical day. 

“I was concerned," Bankman-Fried testified. "It signaled a potential run on the bank and a risk of a liquidity crisis.”

11:00 a.m. ET, October 30, 2023

SBF describes his goal of cleaning up FTX's "messy" accounting

SBF spoke Monday about his day-to-day involvement in FTX, saying he would spend as much as 12 hours a day overseeing more than a dozen projects. 

One "significant and long-running project" on his list was getting FTX's accounting cleaned up, he said. He noted that it took "months" every year to get developers and the finance team aligned and that the accounting process was "messy."

When asked how many hours he worked a week, he said: “22 a day, 23 a day, roughly.”

10:43 a.m. ET, October 30, 2023

Ellison offered to resign after acknowledging Alameda was not sufficiently hedged

In this October 10 photo, Caroline Ellison, former chief executive officer of Alameda Research LLC, leaves Manhattan Federal Court after testifying during the trial of FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, in New York City.
In this October 10 photo, Caroline Ellison, former chief executive officer of Alameda Research LLC, leaves Manhattan Federal Court after testifying during the trial of FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, in New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Sam Bankman-Fried on Monday recalled a conversation he had with Caroline Ellison, his ex-girlfriend and then-CEO of Alameda Research. He was worried, he said, that if the market decreased another 50% then Alameda would become insolvent.

“She started crying," he said. "She agreed…that Alameda should have hedged." He added that she "offered to step down," which he said was her decision alone. 

According to SBF, the two agreed that the “focus should be urgently putting on the hedges” to prevent Alameda from going bankrupt. 

Ellison, who pleaded guilty in cooperation with the government, testified earlier that she wanted to quit but that Bankman-Fried told her she was "too important" to Alameda. 

9:45 a.m. ET, October 30, 2023

SBF starts his second full day of testimony

Sam Bankman-Fried is back for his second day in front of the jury, dressed in a gray suit and lavender tie.

Judge Lewis Kaplan greeted the jury, telling them it is not clear that lawyers will finish their cases by Thursday afternoon, and said that if any of them would be "seriously inconvenienced" by sitting on Friday they should let him know in a note. Friday is currently scheduled as an off day for the trial. 

Lead defense counsel Mark Cohen is resuming his questioning of his client.