Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyer challenges US gov’t proposed jury questions


The lawyer representing the former CEO of the now-defunct crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, has claimed that the proposed jury questions for the upcoming fraud trial will elicit biased responses.

In a court filing on September 29, lawyer Mark Cohen, who is representing Bankman-Fried, contends that the jury questions presented by the US government contain loopholes that could result in an unfair trial for Bankman-Fried.

“The Government’s proposed voir dire discourages full disclosure from potential jurors, fails to elicit sufficient information to allow the defense to ascertain potential juror bias, and risks tainting the jury by presenting the allegations in a prejudicial manner.”

Court filing in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Source: CourtListener

Cohen stresses the importance of the court reminding potential jurors that Bankman-Fried is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

He also argues that the language used in the jury selection questions already portrays a biased image, presuming Bankman-Fried’s guilt in fraud and money laundering.

“In particular, by referring to “his fraud,” rather than “his alleged fraud” or simply “fraud,” the final sentence in paragraph 3 improperly suggests that fraud by Mr. Bankman-Fried is an established fact.”

Furthermore, Cohen argued that the court should use the voir dire proposed by Bankman-Fried.

However, Cointelegraph recently reported that the U.S. government opposed Bankman-Fried’s proposed questions, declaring them unnecessary and time-consuming.

Specifically, it objects to his questions concerning pretrial publicity, the effective altruism philosophical movement, political donations and lobbying and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Related: FTX founder’s plea for temporary release should be denied, prosecution says

Jury selection will commence on October 3, preceding the trial’s start on October 4.

According to a recently released trial calendar, there will be 15 full trial days in October and another six in November.

Bankman-Fried has been in detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center since August 11. United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan has consistently refused his numerous requests for temporary release to prepare for the trial.

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