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

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

September 30, 2023

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

In a court filing on Sept. 29, lawyer Mark Cohen, who is representing Bankman-Fried, contends that the jury questions presented by the United States government contain prejudice 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.”

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.”

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.

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, the U.S. government objected 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 Oct. 3, preceding the trial’s start on Oct. 4.

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

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

Magazine: Deposit risk: What do crypto exchanges really do with your money?

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