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The legal counsel representing Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the former boss of the now-defunct FTX exchange, has raised some questions about the government’s proposed queries during jury selection. The FTX co-founder faces a six-week trial, which will commence with a jury selection process on October 3, 2023.
The prosecutors and the defense counsel submitted their questions for jury selection on September 11. As Bitcoinist reported, the prosecutors challenged Sam Bankman-Fried’s proposed questions, calling it “unnecessarily intrusive.”
Sam Bankman-Fried’s Lawyer Accuses Government Of Prejudice
According to a court filing on Friday, September 29, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, argued that the questions proposed by the United States for jury selection contain bias that could result in an unfair judgment for the defendant.
Cohen wrote in the letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan:
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.
Mark Cohen said that the government’s proposed jury questions fail to achieve the objectives of a voir dire “in numerous respects.” “Voir dire is an important method of protecting a defendant’s right to trial by an impartial jury,” the letter had earlier noted.
SBF’s lawyer argued that the language used in the prosecutors’ proposed jury questions paints a rather prejudiced image of his client. “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 said about a particular paragraph.
Furthermore, Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team challenged that the government was going to “improperly” use some of its proposed questions to instruct jurors. “These assertions are prejudicial and unnecessary to elicit adequate information about potential juror bias,” the letter read.
Ultimately, Cohen requested that the court use Sam Bankman-Fried’s proposed voir dire, which he claims “will provide a full and fair opportunity to expose bias or prejudice.”
SBF Trial Begins In A Few Days
Sam Bankman-Fried faces a potential 100-year jail sentence if found guilty of the alleged seven counts of fraud-related offenses. After jury selection on October 3, the trial will commence fully on Wednesday, October 4, according to the trial calendar.
The trial is expected to begin with the prosecution’s opening statement against Bankman-Fried. The recently released court schedule shows that the former FTX boss will have 15 full trial days in October and another six in November.
Following the latest rejection of his temporary release, SBF will attend his first trial day from behind bars. The defendant has been held in the Metropolitan Detention Center since Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked his bail in August.
Although Judge Kaplan refused to grant the freedom of Bankman-Fried on the terms of trial preparation, he said that SBF could arrive early at the courthouse on most days in order to prepare with his legal team before the court sits.
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