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Jury Selection Finished, Opening Statements Begin in FTX Founder’s Trial

2 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • Lawyers in the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried have begun to make their opening statements after final jury selections on Wednesday.
  • Defense lawyers were denied the opportunity to ask candidates how they felt about Sam Bankman-Fried's attention deficit condition.
  • Testimonies from former colleagues Gary Wang, Nishadh Singh, and Caroline Ellison are expected to align with the criminal charges.
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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.”

Bankman-Fried opening statements, Bankman-Fried parents courthouse, FTX fraud Bankman-Fried
Bankman-Fried’s Parents | Source: Wired

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.

Do you have something to say about the opening statements in Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX fraud trial or anything else? Please write to us or join the discussion on our Telegram channel. You can also catch us on TikTokFacebook, or X (Twitter).

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...
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