Opening Statements Expected in Sam Bankman-Fried’s Trial Today
Prosecutors and defense in Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial began to make opening statements at a Manhattan courthouse this afternoon. Members of the press spotted Bankman-Fried’s parents arriving at the courthouse ahead of the final jury selection.
The final stages of jury selection started at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, where Judge Lewis A. Kaplan questioned several candidates on their occupations, roommates, and children. One 47-year-old high school librarian said they lived with their cat, while a 28-year-old claimed to have two roommates.
Judge Declines Defense’s Peremptory Strike
The court was expected to take a recess at around 12:30 p.m., after which the jury selection was finalized. The defense proceeded with opening statements before the court adjournment at around 4:30 p.m.
According to a Reuters report, defense attorney Marc Cohen said his client “reasonably believed” that loans to the Alameda hege fund were legitimate.
The Reuters story went on to quote Cohen: “There was no theft. Sam didn’t defrauf anyone. Sam didn’t intend to defraud anyone. Sam acted in good faith.”
Opening statements had to wait until Judge Kaplan got through a long and involved jury selection.
Yesterday, Kaplan said he expected to complete the selection of 12 jurors and six alternates by this morning. The court dismissed one individual from a pool of almost fifty jurors yesterday after he admitted to Kaplan he and a family member lost most of their crypto investments.
Read more: How To Master Risks and Emotions in Crypto Trading
During the jury selection, prosecutors and defense can also gauge juror suitability by issuing so-called peremptory strikes.
Bankman-Fried’s defense asked Kaplan to question jurors about their sentiments around attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition that could prevent Bankman-Fried from making eye contact with the jury. The judge declined to pose the question.
Bankman-Fried Could Face Decades if Convicted
Prosecutors have charged Bankman-Fried, once the poster boy for the crypto industry, for alleged fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations while serving as CEO of crypto exchange FTX. If found guilty on all counts, he may serve several decades in prison.
Read more: FTX Collapse Explained: How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Empire Fell
His inner circle, including FTX’s former engineering director Nishad Singh, the former CEO of Alameda Research, FTX’s sister hedge fund, Caroline Ellison, and FTX co-founder Gary Wang have all entered plea deals with the prosecution. Their testimonies are widely expected to be the linchpin of the prosecution’s case.
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