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Plea Offers Were Never on the Table for Sam Bankman-Fried

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX founder, maintains his plea of not guilty, despite no plea deal discussions prior to his trial.
  • Jurors for SBF's trial were questioned about their ability to serve given the low compensation of $50-$60 a day.
  • Several jurors admitted to having some connection to the case but assured they could remain impartial during the trial.
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Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) allegedly did not engage in any discussions regarding plea deals before the commencement of his trial today.

Inside the courtroom, Inner City Press provided coverage of the exchange between Judge Kaplan and the legal representatives of Bankman-Fried.

SBF Continues to Assert His Innocence

According to a thread of posts on X (formerly Twitter), Inner City Press provided the transcribed dialogue of what exactly was going on in the courtroom for the first date of SBF’s trial.

A plea deal involves a prosecutor proposing a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Nevertheless, SBF has consistently maintained his plea of not guilty throughout the trial preparations.

This appears to have been had with just SBF, his lawyers, Judge Lewis Kaplan, and law clerks in the room. The jurors were coming into the room shortly, according to Kaplan.

“Judge Kaplan: The jurors are on their way up. But first, Mr. Bankman-Fried, you have a right to testify, it’s your call. If you wish to testify, stand up and I’ll send the jury out and find out why you’re standing. If your lawyers rest, and you wish to, stand up.”

Jurors Face Intensive Workload With Minimal Compensation

The jurors faced a barrage of questions. They were asked about their ability to serve on the trial jury, given the compensation involved. Kaplan indicated it might not be suitable for individuals experiencing financial hardship.

Kaplan allegedly declared in the courtroom to the jurors that they would only be getting paid “$50 to $60 a day.”

When asked about personal knowledge of the case, several jurors declared they had some connection. However, they declared that they could remain impartial.

One juror said they came across the case from a podcast, while another said that the company he worked for invested in FTX and Alameda Research. Meanwhile, another juror was a recruiter for an investment firm.

BeInCrypto recently reported the screening of potential jurors in New York for SBF’s trial by US authorities. However, the emphasis in the questioning was placed on ensuring the absence of any bias towards SBF or the FTX entities.

The questions were designed to identify and exclude individuals who may have incurred financial losses from crypto. Furthermore, it also excluded those who have close connections with such losses, including friends and family members.

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Ciaran Lyons
Ciaran is a cryptocurrency journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He particularly enjoys writing about CBDC developments and the practical implementations of cryptocurrency in real-world scenarios. He has also appeared across major television networks in Australia including Channel Ten, Channel Nine and SBS TV. Prior to his foray into cryptocurrency, Ciaran worked as a presenter on national radio station Triple J.
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