Sam I Am

There’s never been a defendant quite like Sam Bankman-Fried.
There’s never been a defendant quite like Sam Bankman-Fried. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Of course it was going to end like this. There’s never been a defendant quite like Sam Bankman-Fried, the until-recently mop-headed 31-year-old who stands accused of vaporizing billions of dollars in a sprawling financial fraud scheme, and so there would never be a questioning, and grueling cross-examination, like the one that unfolded since last Thursday on the 26th floor of Daniel Patrick Moynihan courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

What I saw alongside my Puck partner, Eriq Gardner, was peak Sam—hubristic, clever, insouciant, awfully sad. But also, for the first time, truly accountable. We were in the courtroom over the last four days to watch a testimony for the ages. Herewith, our notes… 

Teddy: Man, I need a drink or a shower or both. I just left the courthouse after witnessessing two days of the federal government’s destruction of Sam Bankman-Fried, and the flogging was about as brutal as I feared when Sam’s lawyers first said he would testify. After weeks of sitting there like a potted plant, I’m sure on some level Sam felt good about finally speaking his piece in direct examination. But I found his credibility to be extraordinarily damaged by the hands of Danielle Sassoon, the Scalia-reared S.B.F. marauding machine cosplaying as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.