Last week the Sam Bankman-Fried trial began, and the accused fraud man and onetime presidential hopeful did something special for it: He weeded down his unruly mess of hair. Public photos have yet to emerge of his new ‘do; for now people will have to subsist on court drawings. Getting a haircut must have been an event for him, as his former colleague and alleged ex-girlfriend claims he thought his untamed mane was key to his mystique and to his power.
Per Insider, Caroline Ellison — the twentysomething mathlete who got caught up in Bankman-Fried’s antics — testified on the stand for a second day. She admitted that he “looked like he didn’t put a lot of effort into his personal appearance,” adding, “He dressed pretty sloppily and rarely cut his hair.”
But, Ellison testified, Bankman-Fried saw his unkempt mop as a feature not a bug.
“He thought his hair was very valuable,” Ellison told the court. She also said he believed his hair had gotten him higher bonuses from the trading firm Jane Street. As such, he’d concluded that his slovenly look was “essential to his image.”
According to The New York Times, Ellison fought back tears during her second day of testimony, including when she recalled the week when Bankman-Fried’s companies collapsed spectacularly. But there was a silver lining, at least for her. “I felt this sense of relief,” she said, “that I didn’t have to lie anymore, and that I could start taking responsibility even though I felt indescribably bad.”
Ellison was CEO of Alameda, one of Bankman-Fried’s companies, and she testified that she kept detailed spreadsheets about how much they owed its lenders vs. how much it was drawing from customer deposits to FTX, his cryptocurrency exchange company. The latter began falling apart, she said, in the spring of 2022, when the crypto market crashed. Bankman-Fried then allegedly instructed her to use more customer deposits to repay the lenders, which she did even though she “knew it was wrong.”
Will Ellison’s tearful testimony sway jurors? Possibly. On Thursday it will. Be Bankman-Fried’s legal team turn to cross-examine her.